Baby Turkeys

The change of seasons is very noticeable now. The nights are getting cooler, the leaves on the trees are beginning to change color, the ferns and other plants on our property are turning brown, and the garden is dying back, although we still have veggies that we can harvest. Now that it’s September, I will quit exclaiming that autumn is arriving much too early! (I suspect that I say that every year.) I can just settle back and enjoy the season.

In late summer/early autumn, Mama turkeys wander across our property with their babies following after them. Sometimes they come very near to our house. It’s always a delight to see them. We’ve seen the flock less frequently this year–no doubt because Hannah Joy barks at them and scares them away.

Hannah Joy barks at other wildlife too. A raccoon frequently comes after dark to eat from the birdfeeder. When Hannah notices it, she rushes the window, barking ferociously. Sometimes she is successful at scaring away the raccoon, but sometimes the raccoon looks at her contemptuously and goes back to eating. Hannah always whines in distress when that happens.

I’d like to teach Hannah not to bark at the wildlife, but I’m not sure exactly how to go about it. I’m not sure if she thinks it’s fun to scare them or if she’s trying to protect us from turkeys, deer, chipmunks, and raccoons. When Hannah barks at the window, we always looking out to see what she is seeing/smelling, but we often see nothing. But a week or so ago, I looked out the window when Hannah barked and saw a grouse jumping up from the ground to eat berries on our bushes. It’s the first time I’ve seen a grouse. That was special.

This morning as I came out of the bedroom after getting dressed for the day, I glanced out the window and spied a strange bird landing on the top of our birdhouse at the edge of the forest. I looked more closely, wondering what it was. Then I realized it was a baby turkey. I wondered, “Why and how did a baby turkey get to the top of the birdhouse?” As I looked around for my camera, it fluttered to the ground, joining its Mama and sibling. I looked around, concerned about what had happened to the other babies in the flock. Then I saw a baby fly down from the trees, and then another, and another. We rarely see turkeys do anything except walk, but they can actually fly. I didn’t know this until after we moved north and I saw them fly once when they were threatened and a couple times when they flew down from the trees in the morning. I’ve never seen babies fly before and I didn’t know they could at that young age.

As soon as I realized the babies were flying down from the trees, I began videoing. It was cool, and not a sight I expect to see often. I think they roost in the trees at the location where they happen to be at twilight. When all her babies were safely on the ground, the Mama came closer to the house. It wasn’t until I happened to see Millie that I realized that Mama was keeping between the cat and her babies. I’m surprised she didn’t attack Millie or warn her babies to get to safety, but it was a very peaceful encounter.

Here’s the video:

I love living in our enchanted forest.


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