Standing at the glass doors looking out over the backyard, I see the rabbit that hangs around our place was out having his, (or her, it’s hard to tell about rabbits), morning nibble. While watching the rabbit a humming bird flew into view, hovering at the feeder Marcia has hanging from a post on the porch. The morning sun was obscured by the slowly lifting fog. Mornings are beginning to look and feel like fall. It is the end of August, so this change in the way the morning presents itself is not a surprise. I love the way morning feels this time of year in the mountains.
As I watched the events taking place outside movement near the edge of the woods drew my attention. “What is that?” I thought. “That’s too big for a squirrel.” Slow and deliberately a wild turkey eased itself out of the shelter of trees and into the grass. A large gobbler, it stood silent and still for several seconds. Soon the vigilant bird began to walk carefully toward the bed of wildflowers in the center of the yard. As if on cue, six hens emerged from the woods to follow their leader. It was interesting watching how this group of hens seemed to be following the silent orders of the “man” in charge. If he stopped, they stopped, and remained frozen in place until the gobbler started moving again. They stayed in the open grass for a few minutes, pecking the ground as they walked along. After a couple of minutes, the entire group disappeared into another part of the woods. Their risky walk out in the open ended for now.
As I was leaving the house a bit later the gobbler was checking the area once again. This time about thirty yards up the hill from my driveway he was trying to determine if it was safe to lead his flock across the road into another segment of woods. Later in the day as Marcia was returning from a brief shopping trip she reported the entire flock had made their way once again into the open. As she pulled into the driveway, they were making their way across the field below our house heading toward the creek.
All in all the turkeys made their way in a huge circle around our house, taking the better part of a day, moving from patches of forest to open areas, always vigilant to the signals of the gobbler in case they needed to pick up the pace. Like the days before automobiles, this was just another family out for a walk in the country, visiting the neighbors.