Saturday, August 22, 2015

Mother Hen

From the other room, I hear a good tone in Don's voice as he alerts me, "Turkeys!"
"How many?", I ask.
"Nine", Don answers.
I breathe a little easier. 
For now. 
Seems I've turned into a mother hen lately, 
counting beaks whenever the brood appears out the window.

There are a lot of obstacles out there to keep little turkeys from getting big, and if one gets attached to them, a certain amount of anguish seems inevitable. At this point, I guess you could say I'm attached. When we first saw this clutch of turkey poults, eleven fluff balls with legs scurried after their mother. Before long there were nine, growing fast and learning to fly. They preened under her protection and dozed at her feet.

Then there was one awful day when seven frightened jakes and jennies appeared without the hen. Since then, the missing two have grouped back up with the others, but sadly, the hen has been gone for a couple of weeks and she is almost certainly dead. We wondered what chance the little ones would have to survive without their watchful mother.

Young turkeys are on the menu of many predators in this area. 
At this stage of growth, they could be taken by an owl or hawk, 
and they are often targets for eagles, bobcats and coyotes. 
They are not always aware of what lurks in the shadows. 

The little ones have tried to join up with two hens that frequent the area, 
and though we see them together occasionally, 
they are often running from the hens, 
who make it clear that they don't want the young birds competing for their food.

So, when they're not on their own, the jakes and jennies hang out with the crows and deer. It's a pretty good symbiotic relationship; the deer, with their keen sense of smell, pick up warnings that the turkeys wouldn't notice, and the turkeys, with their sharp eyes, warn the deer of danger.

They don't know, of course, about their adoptive mother hen watching from behind the windows.


Yogi♪♪♪ said...

Well I guess they are doing the best they can without their mother. For some reason I regard coming upon a flock of wild turkeys as a good luck symbol.

Ranten said...

Very nice pictures! Happy weekend!

Lea said...

Great photos!

eileeninmd said...

Awww, I feel so sorry for the little ones. And wow, is that a bobcat laying in the shadows. Cool sight to see. I love the last shot with the turkeys and the deer. Wonderful post and fantastic photos. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Have a happy weekend!

Brian King said...

Great photos! I'm envious of your backyard visitors! People may not always like it, but that's nature in action.

GreenComotion said...

Very nice photos of critters - your post is like looking at a nature magazine - very nicely done!
This reminds me of a documentary we watched where a man tried to become a part of a Turkey family.
Have a Beautiful Day!
Peace :)

Anonymous said...

Love the wildlife. We do get attached to them and hope they make it. Even if it's a turkey!

Ana Mínguez Corella said...

Great collection of pictures .. Many greetings

Marco Luijken said...

Hello Connie,
Very nice shots!! The hen with her cubs are really funny.
Nice to see them running.

Many greetings,

Gunilla Bäck said...

Wonderful photos, Connie! I love the bobcat and the deer. Enjoy your week.

Lisa Gordon said...

Oh, I feel so sorry for those little ones without mom. I do hope they do okay. I can see how it would be so very easy to get attached to them. The photos are wonderful, Connie.

Silver Parrot said...

What a great little photo story. I love the last shot with the deer and I'm cheering for your little turkeys!

mick said...

Great photos - I especially like the last one of the young turkeys and the deer. I like the idea of you watching over them - even when they don't know it!

Margaret Adamson said...

This story remnds me of when people had net curtains and there was alawys someone 'twitching' the curtain and looking from behind it. Now tht is you adn you are doing a good job of watching as well as taking thes great photos. I do hope they all survive now but it is a hard world out there for them. when i walk through my local park, we have Guinnea fowl and I aways count them. A few years ago we had 11, now there are 9!

Marie C said...

Wonderful post! Love seeing these toddlers or juveniles, as the case may be! Glad they are all surviving! Wish they had not lost their mother....but their human "mother hen" is sending good vibes their way! :-) Loved your photos

Germán Ibarra Zorrilla said...

Preciosas fotografías Ozark. Me ha gustado mucho tu blog, ya tienes un nuevo seguidor desde España.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

It's a tough life out there for a turkey! And for those who love them. Good luck wishes wending their way!

Stewart M said...

Nature being red in tooth and claw I suppose - but its an interesting wildlife view never the less.

Cheers - Stewart M - Jakarta (for a few more hours)

Janice Adcock said...

Sounds like they have a nice adopted family.