I've known for a while that in the thick, expansive woods behind our house lived a rafter, or flock, of turkeys. Don’t have an accurate count, but there are a few. We've seen them journey on their path many times, with just small glimpses of their silhouettes as they are confidently but cautiously crossing the back woods. I’ve also known since last week that at least one of these turkeys has a little gang, all their own, comprised of about 8-10 little chicks. Having seen them cross the street up the hill last week, I was surprised, and my anticipation grew hoping that one day they would cross over my yard since we seem to be in their migration path.
Well, today was that day. I literally had a thought that it would be really amazing to see them walk through the back yard. So real was the thought that I readied my camera, left it on the bar in the kitchen, and proceeded to get my work done. This was all at 5:30 this morning. Only about 5-10 minutes later, walking past the back French door, which I had previously left open with only the screen closed, I saw a tall turkey walking out of the woods. Reached over, picked up my camera and thought about taking pics as it crossed the yard. As I moved to the door, immediately I saw the little gang of chicks following along. Omg…this was my earlier thought coming true. Sending up a little prayer of thanks, I proceeded to focus the camera to get the shot. Instead, the crazy screen door was interfering with the auto-focus because it was water logged from the storm last night.
So, being the stealthy person I am, I carefully and quietly slid open the door, took a couple of shots, only to be disappointed because the mother turkey was well aware of my presence and scurried with her little ones back into the woods. This was so not fair. My one moment came and went, with nothing more than out of focus, not very well composed pics to prove it. Deep regret set in, while thinking to myself that I should have been more patient. I could have seen them farther into the yard with more sun, a better angle and more time to get some good shots. What was the hurry??
Well, yes, there was something. Still in my pajamas, I grabbed a coat, my shoes and my camera and turned to head off into the woods. Before I could get out the door, I heard a commotion in the woods, obviously the fox found the turkey and her babies, but I mostly heard the turkey making really loud noises. I assumed this was to scare off the predator and protect the little ones. Not sure of the real outcome, but I was hot on the trail of this live event, happening right in our back woods. So, entering the woods I see nothing. No fox, not a single turkey. I did see the sunbeam shining through the trees like a spotlight. How beautiful. The objects it illuminated stood out as if framed by the dark shadows around it. I hadn’t been in the woods this early in the morning since we moved here. Clearly I was missing some silent beauty.
Walking farther along the edge of the woods, I heard the protective chirping of the momma turkey. At first she was hidden in the low brush that fills the woods. Then all of a sudden she took off up into the trees. The expansive wings flapping startled me and I was shocked to see this turkey actually climbing the tree by flying higher up along the branches. Where were the little chicks?? Certainly they didn’t follow her. No, no they didn’t. I was assuming she left them in a safe place on the ground and was drawing me away from them. The closer I got to the trees where she perched, the farther from the edge of the woods she flew. It was a very strange scenario to say the least, seeing a turkey up in the trees.