Monday, December 10, 2007


Be afraid.

Wild turkeys wander through my back yard like it belongs to them. A group of six males (flock? brood? gaggle?) waddles through together, looking for chicks. A larger group of females comes a little later, gleaning for lawn bugs in the snow --I suppose they had to stay back and make the beds.

These turkeys are large: market-size. To see a couple dozen of them off your back porch through the sliding glass door, poking around for insects, each gang strutting their stuff for the other, is disquieting. They run like the velociraptors in Jurassic Park, bobbing their beaks with mysterious, brightly colored body parts wobbling, making clucky, gobbly sounds. It's not hard to imagine them pecking you to death.

So OK. Here's the worst part: Turkeys fly. THEY FLY! God save us all.

I've seen them fly over the river, so I know it's true. I thought turkeys were incapable of flight. I've been to a turkey ranch. The fences are not high. Thousands of birds eek out an existence behind the fences, kicking up dust and feathers and turkey dung all in one tight space. You'd think that just one of them would say, "OK. That's it. I'm outa here," and spread its stubby wings and take to the sky. But they don't. And I always assumed. . .

So OK. Here's the worster part: Turkeys fly up into tall trees. They "perch" there. God have mercy!

The back of my house sweeps down to riparian woodland. 30-40 foot trees grow out there on the edge of the river, and turkeys roost in them. Imagine one of those frozen turkeys in the open freezer cases at Kroger. Now imagine it with wings, sitting in a tree near your home, watching you. Not a pleasant picture.

I was gazing at the river the other day when two turkeys with great drama flew up into the trees and sat there looking at my home, scouting for small people. So I know it's true. Turkeys fly and perch in tall trees.

My new back yard is no longer the quiet refuge I thought I was getting when I bought the place. I was duped. My back yard is a breeding ground for large, bulky, eerily wattled animals with beaks who live in trees and monitor your every move.

So OK. Now I understand the whole Thanksgiving Turkey Feast thing. I'll grab the cranberry sauce and meet you at the tree line. Bring a gun and some rain gear. This could be messy.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

Hysterical! I didn't realize that turkey's could actually fly either... however I did, by chance chase a few around one summer as a camp counselor - the winged type not the child type turkey! Happy New Year to the Bensons - as in all ya'll!