Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Three Poignant Avian Vignettes

Farmer H has a not-so-secret admirer. The big white tom turkey he bought at the auction a couple months ago is quite fond of him. When I go out on the porch, that turkey turns to look at me, and sometimes comes closer if I rattle a bread wrapper and he thinks food is forthcoming. When I make my ridiculous turkey gobble, he does respond in kind. But he treats me like a casual acquaintance with no lasting bond.

That turkey is a good egg. He shies away from the three evil guineas, even though he is four times their size, and I have never once seen one of them bit HIM on the butt like they do the chickens. Mr. Turkey pals around with the hens, and peacefully coexists with the plethora of roosters who strut their stuff and squabble all the live-long day.

When Farmer H walks out the front door, Mr. Turkey comes running. Even if Farmer H is not actively gobbling at him. Mr. Turkey charges right up to Farmer H, looks up at his face, and falls in behind. He follows Farmer H like a dog. A gawky, leggy, blue-headed, white-feathered dog. Farmer H does not pet Mr. Turkey. Nor have I caught him sweet-talking, like he did an earlier turkey: "Who's a big fat turkey? Who's a big fat turkey? HIM's a big fat turkey!" I guess it takes Farmer H a while to mourn his first love.

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On the way to the movies last week, my mom, The Pony, and I saw a turkey hen crossing the outer road with three chicks. We see wild turkeys all the time, seventeen, eighteen at a time, in the fields alongside our county roads. This is the first time I ever saw turkey chicks. They were not the downy, baby-size chicks. They were not quite adolescents. They were in-between. Like kindergarten turkey chicks, following along behind their momma as she came out of the brush and onto the roadway to our left. She got halfway across and turned back. They scurried along behind like well-behaved children on a field trip.

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Two days ago, The Pony and I saw a fowl cross our county road, the new detour route. I could not tell what it was. At first I thought chicken. But it would have been a really big chicken. Bigger than our biggest rooster. It went down a gravel road that veered off, dragging its right wing, not trying to hide itself. I was driving, you see, on the new Hillmomba autobahn, and didn't get a good look. The color was dark, but it didn't seem like a chicken color pattern. "Maybe it has chicks somewhere, and is trying to lead us away," I told The Pony.

Yesterday, we saw it again, in the same area, on the other side of the road in a pasture. Hay had been rolled up into those giant bales, and this fowl was standing beside one. "Oh, look! A turkey! But there's only one." The Pony took a look.

"That's not a turkey. It's that bird from yesterday. I can see its broken wing. That wasn't an act."

"It's too big to be a chicken. And it's shaped wrong to be a turkey. Maybe it's one of those vultures."

Today it was walking across the road again, dragging the right wing. I got a clear glimpse. It was a turkey buzzard. His rubbery red head was clear to see. I am worried about his survival, but what can you do? He's not a pet. He's probably the one I used to see sitting in a tree, waiting for cars to go by so he could pounce on flat squirrels and rabbits and possums decomposing on the road. Perhaps he was hit by a speed demon on that stretch of road lately. I feel bad for him and his bum wing. Maybe he's been relying on mice in the hay bales.

It's hard out there for a one-winged carrion-eater.

5 comments:

Sioux said...

Yes, feel sorry for him. So sorry, that perhaps you can get him a Rascal so he can wheel around and see the carrion up close. And that way, he could use the handicapped bathroom.

(Those Rascals are fast, I hear...Fast enough to race in.)

Kathy's Klothesline said...

Poor vulture, I am sure there is an avian rescue society ...... somewhere ......out there.

Hillbilly Mom said...

Sioux,
I'm sure he would enjoy that more than a used wheelchair that sends him careening down a hill. Especially when the big-screen TV de-gifted from The Drake and supposedly donated to charity to give Turkey Buzzard to make up for the wheelchair is cashed in for a refund. Maybe or maybe not while parked in a handicapped space.

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Kathy,
Somewhere not in Hillmomba. And they would have to find him, because it's probably against some law to catch a wounded turkey buzzard and stuff him in a pet carrier.

Chickadee said...

Little turklets are adorable. There are usually a few hens on the prairie where I work. One year I got a little too close and the momma lunged at me and started to walk very quickly towards me.

Hillbilly Mom said...

Chick,
I had no idea they would get so aggressive. Sounds like our guineas, who I am pretty sure are all males, and mean as mad hornets.