Here’s one of those experiences that makes me happy to be living in the sticks:  Earlier in the week, Chareva looked out our dining-room window and told me she could see a couple of turkeys in our side field.  I grabbed a camera and went out to get a shot, sneaking up as close as I could without spooking them.

She could see two turkeys from the window, but there actually a dozen of them milling around in the field.

I don’t know why seeing turkeys on the land makes me happy, but it does — and I haven’t even taken up hunting yet.

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19 Responses to “The (brief) Farm Report: Wild, Wild Life”
  1. neil says:

    dude, start hunting now.

    I’ll take up hunting one of these days. I didn’t grow up around guns and am still in the learning process.

  2. Brenda says:

    Oh, turkeys. We live on the edge of a fairly largish city (Winnipeg) and there is a local flock who have the run of the neighborhood. Is it wrong if I wonder what they taste like every time I see them? They’re very tame here, you can walk right by them and they barely blink.

    Wow. That would sure make for easy hunting.

  3. brandon says:

    Looks like dinner! Wild turkey is super yummy!

  4. Becky says:

    Looking at ducks makes me happy. So I understand. “The heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing.” Descartes. But it could be we just like gazing at potential food sources.

  5. Bob Fenton says:

    Thanks for the photos. Enjoy nature, but hunt if you must. I know I would be doing a lot of photography and enjoying it. I would be working to create a habit that would encourage many animals to be around.

  6. Lobstah says:

    It’s great to have turkeys back in the wild. While technically not a “comeback”, as the species that was re-introduced is not necessarily what was here before, it’s just great to see them walking around. Also helps keep ticks down, as that’s one of their favorite foodstuffs.
    You can usually get cracked corn for about 7-$8 a 50lb bag, and the turk’s love the stuff. I stopped feeding them back when I was raising my heritage birds just because I thought it might cause a bit of unrest. Males are marked by a little “beard” that protrudes from their chest. They’re heads actually change color when they get excited, displaying bright blue and bright red colors, while strutting around with their tails spread and breasts puffed out.
    Lots of fun to watch. Glad you’ve got a flock.

    Jim

    I saw a male last year. No missing that one — big ol’ display of feathers.

  7. Bruce says:

    Wild turkeys are pretty wily. Plus they know the difference between a camera and a gun/bow. Good luck getting that close to them when it’s hunting season. :-)

    No hunting for me until we learn to clean and process wild turkeys.

  8. Beowulf says:

    Neat! They’ve come back enough in recent years that we even see them occasionally in the metro suburbs in Minnesota, especially if there are any park reserves nearby.

  9. Don in Arkansas says:

    I know what you mean about seeing turkeys making you happy. We have a few turkeys around our place, we hear them more than see them, but it’s a happy sound. Also lots of deer, a few coyotes, and the occasional bear. Not so often on the bears, thankfully. We’re not that far out in the country either. It’s nice to see animals in their natural setting. I’m not quite as happy about it when the deer lay waste to my garden though.

    I’ve seen turkeys and deer, which make me happy. A bear … uh, not so much.

  10. Firebird says:

    I grew up around a lot of turkeys. Where I come from, they call that “family” ;)

    Now where are my turkey burgers?

  11. Phocion Timon says:

    DON’T hunt them! Even the sound of a .22 will drive them off. We have had turkeys on our place for many years. Dad absolutely forbade any shooting whatsoever so we trapped them. Build a large cage, about 4′ square, using rebar and chicken wire. The entrance is a chicken wire tunnel leading about 3/4 of the way into the cage. Use grain as bait, starting a couple of feet from the entrance and into the tunnel. If you keep the harvest to only two or three toms per year they won’t abandon your farm as they would with the sounds of gunfire.

    I like that idea better.

  12. TJ Huber says:

    Glad to see you have turkeys. They are at their funniest when they hop out of their roosting trees (yes, they roost at about 40 feet above ground) at dawn, fall all over each other and do what my wife and I call a “circle squabble”.

    I’m rarely awake at dawn, so I’ll probably miss the show.

  13. Alex says:

    Here in SE Iowa, the turkey population has exploded. They’ve gone from rare visitors to permanent residents. And, back when we first moved out to the country, 18 years ago, we’d hear cock pheasants all the time; now it’s the pheasants that have become rare.

  14. Lori says:

    My dog would go berserk if she saw those turkeys. She nearly took my arm off when she was on a leash and we passed a flock of pigeons. (Ducks deal with her by getting in the water, swimming away from their young and keeping just out of her reach.)

    Fortunately, our dogs had a couple of fences between them and the field where the turkeys were having their little party.

  15. Jim says:

    Here in Maine they are also re-introduced and now they are everywhere. They are a common sight anywhere you drive. It isn’t uncommon to see a field full of hundreds of them. We have a local flock around our house every year that numbers between six and twenty. They can be very timely coming through on their feeding walks about the same time every day. Very cool to see them.

    I only see this flock now and then. They must take to the woods behind our house most of the time.

  16. Lobstah says:

    Frequently they’re not all that great to eat. It really depends a lot on what they’re feeding on, as you’d expect. But they really are great to watch. Especially in the rain…they shake just like a big ol’ shaggy dog…kind of head to tail, pretty funny to watch. Turk’s around here really don’t know the difference between anything, unless it’s corn, or red, or the cry of a hawk up hunting. You can see them immediately get ultra-quiet, and they’ll all cock their heads so that one eye can look up at the sky.
    We travel to Maine frequently, and yes Jim…they’re all over the place up there, too. See them on the side of the highway, along I95, and my relatives in Orland have flocks all over the place.

    Jim

  17. Tara Sherlock says:

    Tom, hurry up and get them. You have Easter Turkey dinner covered (plus leftovers). Oh look there is Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner to your left and Christmas Turkey Dinner by its side. Leave the rest for years to come…lol

    I’ll go after one eventually.

  18. Elle says:

    Just wait until they have babies. There’s something very primally satisfying and happy-making about watching wild animals running around with their young’uns. (Some deep-seated racial, hunter-gatherer memory about “food will be plentiful this season” maybe?)

    ” They are at their funniest when they hop out of their roosting trees”
    Once I was unknowingly standing in the middle of a herd of tree-roosting turkeys. I must have disturbed them because first they all jumped out of the trees and landed in the leaf litter, and then they flew off. And the cacophony they were making! It was like I was being dive-bombed. Hysterical as soon as I realized it was turkeys, but for a few seconds I was in a panic.

    That would make me jump.

  19. Lobstah says:

    They get up in the air quick, for such big birds.
    The only downside to watching them with their little turkettes in the spring time is that the first time you see them, there’ll be a hen with 6-8 little ones trailing after her. Next time you see them, there’ll be 4-5, and then maybe only 2-3.
    The “ring of life” and all that. Easy prey for coyotes and foxes…hawks as well.
    Tom…with some cracked corn or bird seed throughout the summer, picking out the one you want for T-day will be wicked easy…a scope on a .22 and you’re all set ;)

    I used to take my birds to a nearby turkey/chicken farm. Before T-day they process a few thousand birds. They’d do my turkeys for $5 a bird. At that price, it just wasn’t worth learning to do them myself. I’d take 20 birds over on Sat, and pick up 20 bagged birds on Sunday, for $100. something to keep in mind, unless you’re commited to being completely “hands-on” with your food.

    Jim

    I wouldn’t mind cleaning one myself at least once, just to learn how to do it.

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