That time of year

Every year around Thanksgiving, children draw, color, and make turkey’s, always puffed up with their tail feathers fanned. Every year I chuckle as that is a behavior only of Tom’s and only during spring mating season.

The season has begun, the hayfield fills several times a day with a dozen birds. Most of the year, they look like feathered armadillos with head and tail down, back humped up as they slowly march across the field looking for grub. Then the mating clock chimes and flocks of Toms gather posing for each other with their chest puffed out and their tail fanned, later doing their strutting little dance trying to attract one of the Hens. It is a fascinating process to observe.

I didn’t see my first wild turkey until 35 or 40 years ago, and they were difficult to spot in the woods of the mountains when we hiked. The most we have ever seen at one time here is about 18-20 and they aren’t very fearful of people or cars. They are such muted looking birds until you can get close and see the irridescence in their feather.

It is amusing, the misinformation our kids learn. Probably most of their teacher’s don’t know that the classic Thanksgiving turkey pose is actually a spring mating dance.

I would love to hear your comments on this post.

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