A Porch of My Own

A Porch of My Own

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Bullies, Bellies, Babies, Birdseed, and Buzzards!

Yesterday I witnessed turkey bullying and it was not a nice thing to see! Two young turkey hens were bullying another young turkey hen. They had her pressed between them and they had their tail feathers spread like a gobbler does. She was walking back and forth in an area just inside the back fence line behind the cabin. She would walk for about 10 yards, then turn around and walk back, as if she was trying to get away from them. One bully was on each side of her and they angled in toward her so she would have had a hard time getting away. They pecked at her and pushed on her and made turkey noises which I feel sure were not nice comments!

Another young turkey hen stood outside the fence watching, not willing to take part in the bullying but not prepared to rescue her either. I haven't seen this behavior before but when I talked to Rickie about it he said he had seen similar bullying before in turkeys. He thinks the young hen had probably just tried to join the group and the they wanted to be sure she knew her place. 

I went outside to try and take a photo and if that was not possible to stop it because it is somewhat distressing to watch, as all bullying is, natural order of things or not. I had to open the door to the screen porch to take a photo and that ran the two bullies off. The victim took off and went down the fence line and out the back gate, which I have blocked open a little so the fawns can go in and out. She went down the fence line and joined the other hen and they ultimately wandered off. The two bullies headed for the water tank inside the fence.

This morning one of the squirrels in the yard did something I've not seen before also. We don't have a lot of squirrels but this year we have 4 young ones that hang around. They were busy at all the feeders. One of them came within 4 feet of the front window and allowed me to take his photo through the window without running off. He was spread out on the ground, all 4 legs spread with his belly on the ground. I wondered if he was trying to get cool, like dogs do when they dig a bit and lay on the dirt. I googled the behavior and found out it is a way they dump body heat, so my assumption seems correct. Rickie and I have seen them lay like this in trees before but not on the ground. 

We've got about 20 baby turkeys that hang around. They came into the yard for the first time yesterday. With the drought we didn't have any last year so we're very glad to see them doing well! Turkey moms are really good mothers and take good care of their offspring. They band together and this year we have 3 moms with 14 babies and one mom that was by her herself with her 6 babies. Yesterday they were all together, so I hope the single mom stays in the group. It helps protect the babies from the predators we have in our area.

I put a new birdseed feeder up this year and the squirrels, doves, and scrub jays like it. It's a top to a metal trash can that lost its handle. I drilled some holes in it to let rainwater out and screwed it to the top of a fence post on the little fence that protects out water shutoff valves.

We always have buzzard around and I like to watch them; they look like kites in the sky. Sometimes they perch on the light pole in the yard to greet the morning sun. They spread their wings out to dry. One morning I was able to get a photo of them taken from the kitchen window.

This post was brought to you by the letter "B"!

1 comment:

  1. It's called pecking order, I guess every species does it. Not pretty with horses either. Our squirrels do this too, so does our cat. One of our childhood past times back in Odessa was counting the buzzards. Odessa is on the top edge of the cap rock so the updraft is amazing. June is peak season and sometimes you can count hundreds of buzzard there. The KOSA TV station used to be down the street from Odessa High School, where their huge antenna would be covered with buzzards and the unfortunate cars parked in the lot below would be covered in poo.