Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Turkey Prom

Each year, around the end of April, the wild turkeys come together for Turkey Prom. They like the cow pasture, which isn't much of a cow pasture since cows are only in it a few months out of the year on the early summer grass, which really makes it a great cow pasture--I would love it if I were a cow, and even as a human that green grass makes me want to put my head down and munch away! So the cow pasture remains a remnant of the oak savannah and wetland prairie that covered the foothills of the Willamette Valley.
So for Prom activities the hens peck for woolly bears in the new grass, while the 2 or 3 biggest and baddest Toms strut around trying to impress them. A few small groups of young batchelor turkeys without dates skulk around the edges of the party. When the Toms are showing their stuff, they are quite oblivious to who might be behind that tree, so I can get pretty close. The hens are still pretty wary though, and start moving away. All sorts of birds singing, mostly White Crowned Sparrow and Red Winged Blackbird, and the occasional beat of assorted woodpeckers(Pileated, Hairy, Northern Flicker, Red Headed Sapsucker) make up the band. The sparkly spring sun makes a great disco ball--and that shiny disco ball has quite the party effect on winter-rusty Oregonians, feathered and not-so-furry.

The turkeys are pretty thick around here, and aren't shy at all if you are in a car. I always stop and roll down the window and tell them how pretty they are as they waggle their warty blue heads. It's fun to listen to them gobble amongst themselves, and I'm sure they're so NOT telling me how pretty I am!


Larry said...

Back when I lived in rural Knox County, MO I was lucky enough to witness a turkey mating ritual. The male and female were dancing around each other in an upland field that had been in soybeans the year before. At one point they actually entwined their necks, a turkey neck-braid! It was quite strange and interesting to witness.

wyldthang said...

Wow! Isn't it cool when you can get a glimpse of animals' private lives without having disturbed them, as if you were a sparrow on a twig...almost like you are let into the club of the real universe, not the alternate reality of Microsoft and Starbucks.

matt_stansberry said...

Damn those turkeys. How they mock me!