Wednesday, July 14, 2021

A Great Commotion

Early summer, the forecast was for temperatures in the low 90°s, not my kind of weather. But at dawn it was in the 60°s, rising to just over 70° by the time we’d finished breakfast. So H drove me to the top of the ridge where I could walk an old, old road down into the Big Woods – downhill all the way to where we’d left my car.

The ridgetop is occupied by an oak forest, perfect food for caterpillars of the accidentally introduced gypsy moth. Pieces of oak leaves were scattered on the ground; gypsy moth caterpillars are sloppy eaters –

A short way further down the old road several rattlesnake-weed plants were in bloom –

On down the hill I went until suddenly a great commotion arose from the bracken fern and black huckleberry growing alongside the old road. The loud sound and thrashing set me back for a moment until I realized that it was a female wild turkey protecting her young. She burst from the plants sounding her alarm call loudly, spreading her wings and running across the grassy road as her poults scattered and hid. 

She continued to run around me in ever-widening circles, calling loudly all the time. I missed getting the beginning of her display, but here’s a bit of the performance she put on –

When she first exploded from the vegetation I saw several of the poults, one poult ran to a large fallen branch a side of which was off the ground. As the hen got further away I decided to look for the poult beneath the branch. It took a while, but there it was –








Turkey poults often hide beneath fallen leaves and there’s always the danger of stepping on a hidden poult. Poults that survive their first two weeks of life can fly short distances, greatly increasing their odds of survival.

With that it was time to move on and allow the turkeys to reunite. Although later there were photos of flowers and a stream, the turkeys were the highlight of the morning. The rest of my walk through the Big Woods was uneventful, and then it was time to head home and stay cool.


Barbara Rogers said...

What a great natural encounter - Mama Turkey certainly put on quite a dance to deflect that big thing with a camera pointed at her from finding her flock. Glad you were able to capture one shot of the baby turkey!

Marcia said...

We are seeing a lot of turkeys and poults (new word for me) along roadsides. They sometimes can't decide which way to run so we stop and wait.

The Furry Gnome said...

Great video of the Turkey! Made me feel like I was right out there with you.

Villrose said...

The turkey is working hard to protect the offspring!

eileeninmd said...

Loved the turkey video, the little one is adorable.
Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Take care, have a happy weekend.

Rain said...

Hi Woody! :) What a sweet little poult. You know, watching your video reminds me of a time when I was hiking in the Appalachian mountains in Quebec. From out of nowhere, a Wild Turkey started chasing scared the bleep out of me lol...I figured I must have been too close to the nest!