Who’s the Real Turkey Here?

It's embarrassing for a grown woman, a grandmother no less, to charge out onto her deck, yelping and growling like a Chihuahua that's had a can of Red Bull dumped into its water dish. In broad daylight, mind you. In full view of the new neighbors and their impressionable small children.

It's even more embarrassing to be ignored. Not, unfortunately, by the neighbors. By the pair of predatory turkeys at the bird feeder who are the target of the attack.

Oh, they took off, launching themselves off the deck in flapping disarray, thumping to the ground, and scuttling off through the back yard. All the while they clucked anxiously to each other: "What was that scary critter?" "I dunno. Run faster." "What'd we do?" "I dunno. It was your idea. Run faster." "Was not." "Was too. Run faster."

They would trot off out of sight, catch their breath and calm their nerves—probably with illicit cigarettes—and come right back.

One day I chased them away six times. They finally left for good, but only because the bird feeder was empty.

And they've kept coming back. Now they bring along their brothers and sisters and cousins. They can empty the feeder in sixty seconds flat, meanwhile emptying something else. They seem to think our deck is not only their own personal buffet, but also their own personal poultry port-a-potty.

Even though we've left the bird feeder empty for now—thereby depriving all the innocent little birds of the food they've come to rely on—the turkeys still stop by every couple of days just to check.

Yesterday, there they were again, walking along the deck railing like a couple of prehistoric klutzes in a gymnastics class trying to master the balance beam. Watching them slouch along on their scrawny long legs, I realized for the first time how young they were. This year's hatch, they were lanky (though if they keep raiding our bird feeder, that won't last long) and didn't have the full feathering and wattles that mark adults. Even by turkey standards, their heads looked small, as if they were trying for a cool Mohawk look but had picked the wrong barber.

Suddenly, it all made sense. They're adolescents. No wonder they're always hungry. And no wonder they never listen.

Categories: Wild Things | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “Who’s the Real Turkey Here?

  1. What a hoot! It sounds like Thanksgiving is at hand.

  2. Kathleen

    If I can just perfect my aim with a slingshot . . .

  3. Ginny

    On the farm, we had wild turkeys who would come into the house yard and lie in the shade of the house right alongside of my many yard cats. All was friendly and peaceful…nice to see. Then, one day, a turkey hen appeared with a brood of little chicks trotting around her feet. One cat began stalking the chicks, and the hen flew up in the air and socked the cat with her feet..I had to run out to save the dazed and shocked cat. So much for the friendly feline/bird mingling..the hunting instinct of the cat and the fierce maternal instinct of the turkey hen came into play and ruined the former peace. I was sorry about that. Ginny

  4. Kathleen

    We have a big gray cat in our neighborhood who eats “our” baby bunnies–maybe I should encourage that cat to hang out with the turkeys instead . . .

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