I’ve a hundred weighty topics floating about in my head.
Why are guns more important than children? Will American democracy dissolve around support of some evil wannabe autocrat? How can I love my Christian brothers and sisters who pretend to love Jesus but seem to hate the poor, the immigrant, the vulnerable? Will the world devolve into nuclear war around a real evil dictator? How did the equality movement of the seventies fail so much that now people want to switch their sexes? Are the recent storms a result of climate change, God’s displeasure with humans, or both? I could go on… but I will not. I’m sure you’re already depressed about the state of the world. SO…
Our bird feeders are giving us much pleasure and laughter this spring. We have two hanging feeders, a suet feeder, and in the winter we put seeds in our bird bath as well as throwing out seeds on the ground. There’s a large (very large) sycamore tree right by the feeders that provides a landing place and shelter for shy birds, woodpeckers, and ground feeders. There have been all the usual suspects at the feeders all winter, especially two pairs of red-bellied woodpeckers that love the suet, and we never get tired of watching them. We have giant flocks of house finches and goldfinches, Carolina chickadees, nuthatches, titmice, mourning doves, jays, cardinals, and starlings and cowbirds too. It perks us up on those gray days; I recently downloaded the Merlin Bird ID app from the Cornell Ornithology Lab, which allowed us to participate in the Backyard Bird Count 2023. Even if it is our front yard…
Last week we had a new guest.
He was very hard to get a good photo of because: 1. He’s FAST; 2. I’m slow; 3. We have screens in our windows, which blur all the bird photos.
But as he discovered that he rather liked the sunflower seeds and meal worms we were putting out, he got less shy. He would circle around the tree and then come back. Over the past few days I’ve had several photo-ops and gotten a few passable shots.
Our first thoughts were When is Spring Gobbler Season? (In PA it is from April 29 to May 30 in 2023.) But the more he came around, the more I discovered I really couldn’t think about that anymore. And for all of you who aren’t Western Pennsylvaniacs, it isn’t uncommon to see flocks of wild turkeys everywhere during every season. It’s common to see little poults in with the flocks, too, in late spring and early summer. But it isn’t common to see them come singly to a bird feeder.
We’ve been wondering why he seems to be solitary when most often turkeys are in flocks. I read this article by the Forest Society, which says that after mating season (in April) the males and females usually separate into flocks of their own. I also learned that the longer his beard (those feathers hanging from his chest) the older he is, and that young toms are called jakes. And that Ben Franklin didn’t really suggest making turkeys our national birds. But I can only assume that he’s solitary because he’s a lowly jake and got run off from a flock?
He’s been missing the past day or two. We’re hoping he’s just on the hunt for a lady friend, and he hasn’t had a car accident or a shooting accident or a scuffle with another tom (or jake).
And if I get a photo of him spreading his fan, I’ll be sure to add it to this post.
In the meantime, let’s look forward to spring and renewal and not let the nightly news give us nightly headaches….