Waking up last weekend in Frenchtown was supposed to be like most other Sunday mornings.
We usually wander downstairs, appreciate the many marvelous views we have, and check out what wildlife has decided to stop by for a visit. Sometimes we see amazing red beaked woodpeckers, witness red and gray squirrels fighting as they steal each other’s winter stash of acorns, hear coyotes howling in the woods, or gaze at the many deer who wish they could break through our protective fence and eat our lovely perennials for breakfast. But last week something phenomenal occurred.
A flock of wild turkeys, 28 to be exact, decided that our farm was the perfect place to enjoy a delicious Sunday morning brunch. We could not believe our eyes! At first I thought they were vultures since groups of them often gather when an animal has died. But never before have we seen so many turkeys together in one place. It was a record for sure and there they were, a mere 40 feet away from our kitchen door!
It took the turkeys about 45 minutes to canvas our back yard, move to the side fields, cross over our driveway and disappear en mass into the woods. I tried to go outside at one point to get a closer look, but the instant I set foot outside they sensed danger and got all flustered (but they luckily did not run away). I decided that it was best that I stay indoors so I retreated to our kitchen to watch them crisscross our meadows and peacefully feed together, like one big happy family.
The males were bigger than the females and at one point one of them sensed something was amiss- so UP and OUT their feathers went, creating a HUGE fan of bright colors! The sight was astoundingly beautiful and surreal. It reminded me of being in elementary school when we used to make turkey drawings using the outline of our hands- except these were REAL! The colors of their feathers were extraordinary! Not only that, but their chest cavities expanded to twice their normal size as they tried to protect their pretty girlfriends from danger. Once the culprit receded – a beautiful doe- their feathers collapsed, their chests deflated, and they returned to their task at hand, filling their little tummies with yummy treats from the ground (what they are eating I will never know)!
Nature is amazing and having a farm brings new surprises every day. Talking with other farmers in the area (and even the Audubon Society), no one has ever witnessed such a huge flock of wild turkeys feeding together. In the end, Gene and I were honored that our little farm seemed appealing enough that the head turkey signaled to the others to pick our little oasis to enjoy a delicious feast. We will never forget it and we feel lucky that we will always have that memory to share with others. What other amazing nature miracles have you experienced in your lifetime? We would love to know what you have witnessed, so share your stories with us!