Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems. ~Rainer Maria Rilke

Friday, March 4, 2011

Turkey Trot

The real California Turkey (Meleagris Californica) went extinct about 10,000 years ago.
So what's this...

and, oh my gosh, THIS...
They are everywhere. Herds of them. They come through morning and night. They mess up the parking area with their 'you know what'.
They are in California and they are called  Turkey, so how is it that they are extinct?? Listen to this:
"All the evidence we have on hand about California Turkey is that it was strictly limited to the greater Los Angeles Basin. The fossils are all within that small area, extending north only to Santa Barbara and south (maybe -- fossil i.d. tentative) to Orange County. "
Yes, we're talking La Brea Tar Pit extinct.
They don't look INSTINCT to me and what are they all doing in my driveway?

OH!.... the Prospector says it's mating season. Look at this dude!. I've never seen such a blatant display of out of control sexuality in my life. I'm almost embarrassed for him.
Look...., here's one who thought he was hiding in the middle of a group of hens.
The Tom (that's a boy turkey) was acting all casual and nonchalant like he's just one of the girls.
Then, all of a sudden, he started to transform.
He was getting bigger. He puffed up. But the real transformation started on his head. His eyes got red and he got this fierce look on his face, then his wattle turned red too. By now the hens were suspecting that there was something strange going on and they started moving away.
He fluffed up more and started looking really scary. See that skin under his neck? It will get longer and redder.
Did you see this? He went from a mild mannered bird to "SUPER BIRD" in about 3 or 4 minutes. It was just amazing and this was only the beginning.
Slowly his tail started going up....

and the feathers spread out in a beautiful fan  across his back. Then he started strutting and dancing around the hens. It was a sight to behold.
Still, the hens kept foraging and seemed like they could care less. The Tom did this for quite a while and I was getting cold. It was early morning and I had run out there in my PJ's to take these pictures. I was freezing and my coffee was sitting on the kitchen table getting cold .... in my warm house.
He finally gave up. It was like he had been holding his breath and then let it out. I felt sorry for him. He was deflated. He looked around at all the ladies and I know he was wondering what was wrong with them.... or him. I guess it's an age old story.....
He gave it one more try, but I could tell that his heart wasn't in it. So, keeping his tale feathers spread and trying to save what little dignity he had left, he walked up into the trees with his head held high.
Sorry Dude.....

Turkey season in California starts on the last Saturday in March and lasts for 37 days. Bow season is a little longer. I swear to you, on that day these Toms will disappear. It's like they know. Turkey are smarter than you think..... the hens don't have to worry. You can only take one bearded turkey per day.
This is not an endangered species. They are doing well here. In fact, at Three Dog Farm, they seem to have found a safe haven.
I do hope they all move on soon.


  1. must have fallen out the back of a truck. Why don't you catch some for your freezer for Thanksgiving and Xmas.

  2. Dinosaurs aren't extinct farmlady...they turned into TURKEYS!!! hahaha! I could never watch a "herd" of 50 turkeys walk through my fields up north without thinking that very thought! Glad they have a nice place to be safe but also hope they are more polite!

  3. Oh, I love Tom! That story was great! And the ladies just ignored him! They were busy talking about how they were going to go shopping later, and what good sales they would find. And poor Tom wasn't even noticed! :(
    Thanks for the laugh! I love turkeys! We see them around our house once in a while, but I'm always looking for them!

  4. Wow!!That is a lot of turkeys. The pictures are great. I really like the one of the tom walking away. I bet it was a sight to behold. Thanks for sharing this with us. Have a blessed day. Madeline

  5. Oh my what fabulous photos
    Laughed thinking you watching all this sexuality going on...hee hee
    But I want to tell you.. I LOVE the poetry snippets....LOVE them especially, Rilke's.
    Boy, does he know my granddaughter
    ..and Spring
    Lovely writing

  6. How fun! I kind of cracked up laughing at the whole thing...we saw wild turkeys once running across a busy road, not all in display, but as if a dog had chased them, was kind of cool. I had never see wild ones either. Of course the time I saw wild pheasants, my camera was MIA too.

  7. We have lots of wild turkey up here in CO. & in spring we see the hens strutting around with their little brood trailing along behind!
    DH once shot one in TX & smoked the bird-it was "ok" but not wonderful, I really prefer the domestic kind!

  8. tastes like chicken only better. I bet those fella's would make some fine eating. Shoot one day early!
    all teasin aside (whose teasin?) those are FABULOUS photos!!!!! Really I am totally impressed.

  9. Charming BagladyMarch 5, 2011 at 5:32 PM

    Oh, thank you for the wonderful story and the even more wonderful photos. We have wild turkeys here in Michigan and almost every fall I get a couple in my driveway, eating fallen acorns. We have LOTS of acorns. I have always wanted to see a tom "displaying" but never have. What a magnificent sight!! Turkey season doesn't begin here until April 18 but I have no idea where to go to see a wild boy strutting his stuff. I may have to do a little research. ~Dawn

  10. awesome images you have captured. isn't it so exciting to see them in the wild? they are so big and magnificent birds.

  11. Your narration was PRICELESS. All I could think of was "MEN". They are all the same. That and Viagra LOL

    Loved this!!


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