Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Turkey in a Tree

Maybe I should rename this blog "Turkey Times".  Admittedly I love watching the wild turkeys.  They do some funny things!  Of late they've been especially active.

One afternoon I heard a rustling in the yard, a breaking of branches.  This turkey had flown into one of the pines at the edge of the yard.

turkey in the berries

Here's a shot of the tree the turkey landed in.  He was pretty far up.  See below - he's the brown blob I circled in blue.

turkey is here

The orange-red berries are oriental bittersweet.  The bittersweet vines wrap around and climb the trees.  They're a non native plant, but the birds don't seem to mind.

turkey in the tree

I've seen many a small bird eating the berries, but never a turkey, so I was surprised.  This one kept shifting position as he reached high and low for the surrounding berry clumps.

turkey with more berries

I know birds will let certain berries sit on vines for weeks before deciding that the time is right to eat them.  I assume earlier in the fall they have other choices for their diet.  Now that it's winter those food sources are scarcer and the berries are more appealing.

turkey reaching for berries

The berries and pine needles make for pretty holiday colors.  Maybe this turkey will star in next year's Christmas card!

Enjoy the day - Merry Christmas!  - Cheerily

Friday, December 20, 2013

Turkeys in the Snow

The year is ending as it began.  Snow on the ground, turkeys running around!

One evening after it started to snow, I saw this turkey running up the hill.  He cut a ghostly figure in the snowy twilight.

I sensed an urgency within him.  He looked like he was about to take flight -


flying turkey one


flying  turkey two


flying turkey three

No, he didn't take off, he continued running up the hill.  I have noticed the turkeys come out of the woods at times and for whatever reason run to the bird feeder.  They love to eat the seed that drops when the smaller birds knock it off the tray.  What triggers them though to come out running?  It would make sense if they came running after seeing me put seed out, but that's not what happens, they come running at seemingly random times.

Once under the feeder they dig at the ground to uncover any buried seed.  Over the dry summer they raked the ground so thoroughly that they actually dug a hole behind the feeder.  Even the snow wasn't enough to keep this dirt hole covered.  And a hole it is - it's not just a spot where the grass has died, the turkeys dug at least eight inches down if not a foot!

turkey digging

This guy's buddies meanwhile came out and made themselves comfortable elsewhere in the yard.  As much as their friend wanted to be under the feeder, the rest of the group were happy to poke their heads in the snow and take their chances elsewhere.

turkeys in snow

As suddenly as they came they decided to leave.

turkeys leaving

The turkeys have been a constant presence this year.  If this yard is any indication their population is doing well!

Sorry about being "away" the last few weeks.  The transition into winter has been fun but abrupt and it caught me off guard.  My bird watching schedule adjusted to the winter weather but my writing didn't quite keep up!

Enjoy the day - Cheerily