Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Even if you are not from the states, hopefully, we all have something to be thankful for even if there isn’t a designated holiday in your neck of the woods. This year is a bit of redemption for me from the last couple of years. If you happen to recall, two years ago I was shocked to learn I didn’t have an appropriate topic to honor the day. Ended up going with a substitute featured feathered friend – the Turkey Vulture (link here). To my credit, at least it had the name of the traditional protein right in the name (and large, with some red, funny looking… you get the picture). Last year I was so embarrassed I completely skipped the topic and announced I was unofficially stepping out of the corporate arena (link here). Simply skipped right over the day itself and picked back up with part two of the Cedar Waxwing series (link here). The hope being no one noticed I didn’t have a bird in the hopper that even remotely related to a Turkey – sigh. Well, this year you are in luck.
Hit the jump to find out about our incognito Turkey
I need to get on the stick with these posts. Between the yard work, running, birding and ramping up the Halloween prop lab for this year’s haunted trail (link here), things have been getting a bit bunched up. I was going to wait a bit on this one, but an encounter a few days ago while hitting the trails for some training felt like a sign.
Yes folks, we have our next installment of the “in a Tree” series. This one is not as odd as the previous Roadrunner in a Tree as I’ve witnessed a Wild Turkey in a Tree (WTiaT) a few time times in the past. Admittedly, on the rarer side as typically they are wandering around the ground or trying to play Frogger with Linda’s vehicle. As luck would have it, this is one of the few species Linda doesn’t have a silhouette of on her front fender – for the record she stands firm her bumper is the victim of animal suicides.
Hit the jump see a few more shots of our large bodied tree climber.
“As God as my witness, I thought Turkeys could fly.” If you are in the 50-60 year old range, you probably recognize that quote instantly and remember with admiration for one of the truly funny sitcoms of the era – WKRP in Cincinnati. A time when I could sit down, enjoy a bit of TV and laugh a little for 30 minutes – now, not so much – in fact very little is worth my valuable time these days. Sure it was filled with political and social commentary (ad boycotting, proton/electron gangs, freedom of lyrical speech come to mind), but regardless of your position, the intelligent writing, wit and delivery could still be enjoyed by different perspectives. I guess I should be grateful on this Thanksgiving Day for the extra time I have to focus on my photography and blogging. Have a wonderful holiday wherever you might be, stay safe in your travels and enjoy today’s timely feature of Turkeys that CAN fly (a bit at least ha).
This particular Tom Turkey was an unexpected surprise. Linda and I had stopped to take pictures of a Great Horned Owl in Rocky Mountain National Park back in May 2014. You might recall, we were able to get some shots of both the mother and her Owlets (link here). I had moved to a location up on a hill allowing me to shoot almost directly into the pine tree they were nesting in and yet still far enough away that there were no unwarranted concerns by any of the subjects – somewhat aided by the fact I was shooting from behind a large boulder on top of the hill. So caught up in shooting the owls, I didn’t even notice this dude come walking up behind me.
In honor of today, hit the jump to see a few more pictures and read a bit more about the Wild Turkey.
May your travels be safe and your family and friendships be strong
Sorry for the slightly soft pictures – only Turkey shots I had that were processed and haven’t already been featured on the blog. These were taken by my feeders back in August 2015. The mother hen would bring her offspring over for a morning snack. To her credit, she kept a close eye on them and would hurry them to safety whenever she saw my camera pointed at them.
A Turkey, a Thrasher and a Titmouse walked into a bar. The bar tender goes “Sorry, we don’t server T’s. Okay, okay, not as funny as three men walk into a bar, the fourth one ducked, but I gave it my best shot. Like the last post this one brings you not one, not two but Terree (in my best Monty Python imitation) birds. Unfortunately, unlike last time it is short of images – a measly one per species, weak.
First up is the Wild Turkey. These birds definitely differ from their domesticated brethren in that they can flight. Not very well, but they can go short distances and launch themselves into the trees if need to escape from danger. Typically you will see them hanging out on the ground at the edges of tree lines looking for berries, insects and snails (per Cornell’s dietary information). Cornell also mentions they have made a comeback of sorts and now can be found in every state but Alaska. Likely easier to just go down to the local Walmart and grab one out of the freezer than stalk these quarky birds in the wild. According to Wikipedia they actually got their name from the country Turkey (as a result of Britain bringing us the domesticated version) – did not know that.
I have found them to be very aloof and not wanting to be around humans at all. Whenever we spot them they usually turn and head for the woods almost immediately. The one above is a female that has been hanging out in the woods near a ravine not too far from the house. While we were building our house we discovered a group of Wild Turkeys living there and did our best not to disturb them too much – one had actually laid about 8 to 10 eggs at the time. Soon after they were hatched, the mother took them to another location – our builder mentioned the Tom’s will kill them if they find them. Guessing it has been this female that has been hanging around here each year. This year she was hauling around two offspring! She brought them to the feeders twice but each time she saw me with the camera she gathered them up and high tailed into the woods. Glad to see at least two of them made it to juvi status – maybe those will take up residence next year as well! I was surprised to find that the Wild Turkey hasn’t made it to the Blog yet – chalk up another check mark.
Next up.. the Brown Thrasher. Now this bird has made a showing on the blog. The previous two showings were in my own backyard (link here and here). This new sighting was at Banner Marsh in a Mulberry tree along the side of the road partway to the marsh. While taking pictures of another bird, there was a rustling in the tree behind me. Turning to investigate this Thrasher was staring right at me.
That began a 15 minute battle to try and get a clear shot of that damn bird. Pretty sure it knew I wanted it in the tin so it purposely kept itself partially hidden. jumping form branch to branch as it circled the tree away from me. I’d stop it would stop on the other side of the tree – move left it went right, move right it went left and when I moved into the center of the tree it just went to the top. Extremely frustrating. Kind of feel bad for Linda having to hang out in the car watching me dance around this tree. This is the ONLY shot worth showing from that battle. All in all, not too bad if I say so myself. Again, the journey was more than the destination. Something about these birds make it seem like they are always pissed off (probably because humans keep disturbing them with their big glass). Guessing it is the yellow eye, but not sure on that.