Spring showed up in avian form the other day. I was rinsing my coffee cup at the sink in the afternoon when something large and dark brown on the hill outside caught my attention. I stared for a few seconds before fully realizing I was looking at a wild turkey hen. I bolted for my binoculars.
If you’ve never seen a wild turkey in fresh plumage, they are gawky (they are poultry, after all) and gorgeous. The tiny bald head and skinny bare neck give way to a luxuriantly feathered body, clad in bronze and brown like a dowager queen. The subtle barring and fawn-tipped tail feathers are magnificent. I gathered every detail I could see and watched her graze her way unhurriedly across the wooded edge.
Because I’d watched her so closely, when I saw another turkey hen wandering through with the deer herd fifteen minutes later, I knew that was a different bird. Her wing feathers were shaded differently. Two! What a wonderful surprise! They do live here, but they are wary and I only see them every few years. To see two in an afternoon was a special treat.
If I am lucky, these queens will bring their poults to graze when they have their families. They have done so before – stalking through the cover on the slope, clucking constantly to their brood. Once I found a beautiful bronzed feather, a calling card. “Royalty was here. Your dogs are noisy. And it wouldn’t hurt to toss some of that birdseed back here – we will not deign to dine on the porch with those scurrilous blue jays.”
A few minutes to admire them every once in a while is enough for me to be grateful for.
The turkeys were too far away to photograph, so instead I’ll show off the promised progress of my cherry tree. She’s about halfway to full bloom and already waving these lovely fingers at every puff of wind.
Readers, I wish you well and safe on this spring day. Special good wishes to all the nuturing souls out there on Mother’s Day – there is someone grateful for the care you give. I am grateful you are here.