Wednesday, December 12, 2007

(part 1)Turkey Roosting Time in Tennessee

While the Midwest has had ice storms instead of  seasonal snow, we have had record warm. 75 degrees yesterday, twice I had to go back into the house to slip into something not so hot, digging around for a t-shirt that hasn't been packed away. Guess I will have to change my seasonal clothing storage habits that have evolved over the years to adapt to the new climate. Critters can't make adaptations just by switching wardrobes.

A few evenings back it was so balmy that I was standing just off the back porch wearing only my pajamas and the twilight when I was startled by the flapping, whooshing and scrambling sound of turkeys going to roost.

Just beyond my shop/mule barn, about 100 feet up the dry creek bed and standing up hill a little in an overgrown pasture and cedar thicket is is a large old spreading pasture oak. You can only make out its limbs above the successional woody growth, but it is larger (about 4 ft dbh) than it looks in this photo (taken back in the fall, the oak is the gray limbed orange leafed tree in the foreground).IMG_844s4

Anyway, turkeys make a great amount of noise as they ascend, and it got the mules concerned and on alert, which is pretty amusing in itself, but I was even more entertained by the way this flock of a dozen turkeys put themselves to bed in such an orderly fashion.

In the fading light, I could see their silhouettes on the spreading branches as they arranged themselves. First turkey flaps his way a quarter of a way up in this oak, when he is settled, the second one finds a branch at this level, then the third, and so on, until they are all arranged. Then the first turkey goes up one more level, the rest follow and arrange themselves, in order. Then they go up to the top. How pretty, I think! Like Christmas partridges in a pear tree. Except just as I was admiring the arrangement, first turkey decides that maybe they are too vulnerable spread out in the top like that, so down they go, one at a time, in order, back to the "next to the top" level and there they spent the night.


Sandra December 23, 2007 at 4:46 PM  

The sighting of turkeys always thrills me; thanks for your story.

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