Itís a little hard to keep my concentration on the tedious details of my job when I can look out the sliding glass door and see a turkey sauntering across the yard just off the porch. But itís even more difficult when I take a closer look and see that this bird is being followed. At least twenty tiny, fluffy turkey babies were also making their way through the grass.
Well, this needed a closer inspection, so I peeked out the window and saw that the babies were indeed picking at the dry grass. I really needed a photo, but I didnít want to spook the mother bird. If I approached too quickly or too closely, I was sure she would either fly off and leave the chicks behind, or turn and face me, ready to fight. My money was on the latter possibility.
So I went around to the other door and opened the screen as quietly as I could. I slipped out through the garden and saw that two or three of the babies were wandering off in my direction, as their mother headed toward the far fence. I snapped a couple of shots, but they were so close to the same color as the ground that I didnít think I had anything worth looking at.
Suddenly there was a flurry of activity as the big bird gathered her chicks. She walked back and forth across the part of the yard where all the little ones were spread out. She clucked and cooed until they were all within her sight, and then she led them toward the far fence. Unfortunately, the wire fence was blocking their exit from the yard. At one point it looked as if she were trying to push them through an opening under the fence. She could easily have flown over it, if she could have got the babies to the other side somehow.
And that must have been what she did, because they all disappeared into the high grass on the other side of the fence. I went back outside to try to see what had become of them. I knew the chicks would be hard to spot, but the mother turkey was too big to hide in a little grass. Again, I didnít want to spook them, so I didnít get too close to where I thought they might be. I expect them to wander back through the yard as the babies grow, but for today I couldnít find them again.