Thursday, September 19, 2013

Turkey Voyeurism

I'm almost sure they had no idea I was standing there watching their morning ritual.  At least, they appeared oblivious to my presence at the end of our driveway.

Maybe it was because of the September fog. 

Maybe it was cuz they knew they'd better play attention to orders, lest the pecking order go askew.

Whatever the case, I witnessed a fascinating process this morning, which,  I'm sure, occurs every morning at the Finney-Taylor fenceline.

The turkeys were getting up---oops---down for the day. So, I stood and watched.

A while back on the blog, when I talked turkey,  someone accused me of being an "old" farmgirl who shoulda seen a turkey or two in her life.

I wanted to write right back and tell that commenter that for most of my life the only turkeys this "old" farmgirl ever saw were thawing in my mother's metal kettle and later sitting on a platter, with all their giblets floating around in Mother's gravy or mixed in with her dressing. 

Well, at our house, the giblets floated around in the gravy or added a certain chunkiness to the stuffing IF Mother remembered to turn off the stove when she was boiling them down to pick off the meat for other holiday dishes.  

Sometimes she forgot, and the turkey innards got cooked beyond recognition.  She pried what was left off the bottom of the sauce pan and threw that year's extra-crunchy giblets into the garbage.  

The result for that particular holiday dinner was soft stuffing and smooth gravy.  Didn't bother me. 

I never liked biting into a chunk of turkey liver in my dressing anyway.   So, it was always fine with me if the giblets went into the trash.

Anyway, for many years, our turkey viewings were pretty limited to the freezer department at the local grocery store or in our kitchen.  

I think wild turkeys got planted in North Idaho sometime during the 1980s.  Seems like I first heard of them up at Bonners Ferry.  

Eventually, they found their way to Bonner County, sorta like those quickly populating town squirrels someone planted in downtown Sandpoint.

Town squirrels have definitely migrated to the Selle Valley,  nine miles north of Sandpoint. Not all have fared so well out here, I've heard.  And, it's not because of coyotes.  

That's another story. 

Back to the turkeys.   We didn't see too many of them when we lived over on Great Northern Road----just a few along the railroad tracks---but since we've moved out here, it seems they're all over the place.

Still, I hadn't ever seen them go to bed until a couple of weeks ago when Debbie and I were sitting on our deck.  

Since then, I've noticed that this year's local clans have a couple of inns, OR should I call that "outs?" on either side of our home. 

One regular bedding "up" place is the Finney-Taylor fenceline, while the other is in our woods just across the fenceline from the hay field.  All that makes sense now.  

Sleep in the trees, get up, get down and graze away at the ground in the open field.

This morning I observed definite "pecking" order with the turkey wake-up call.  

Only one bird gets up---or down at a time.  The launch-off from the tree limbs comes after a few emphatic "perk, perk, perks" from whoever the morning turkey sergeant happens to be. 

"Perk, perk, perk; then, SWISH!  Out of the tree, a bird swoops in for a landing.  Then, silence.  Then, "perk, perk, perk" and "SWISH" comes another. 

After about five minutes of regimented "rise and shine---turkey-style," the whole crew is assembled in a group on the ground, ready for another day of pecking.  

I loved my period of turkey voyeurism this morning, and I have a feeling my wild turkey education will continue as the autumn moves on.  

Kinda glad they chose our area this year for their summer residences----as long as they stay out of my yard. 

And, Kea will take care of that. 

Happy Thursday.  Go hug a turkey.  

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Actually the turkeys were introduced into Boundary County in the 1960's.... just took them a while to find Bonner County. :)

I know this because my best friend in college was from Bonners Ferry and her father was city clerk. He helped introduce them. I double checked with her (she lives in OR) this morning to make sure.

I told her to be sure to look at your blog today as I know she will enjoy your description of turkeys rising!