Sunday, June 01, 2008

Three Birds, Two Cats and a primate

It was an awful lot of croaking for a Friday afternoon. I went out on the patio to investigate. The Ravens were in an uproar about something. My first thought was that one of their nestlings had fledged and was hiding in our yard. They were flying back and forth, low over the top of the apple tree, scolding and creaking and booming. I decided their fledgling must be in the top of the tree, and they must be trying to tell it that this was not a safe place. My eyes scanning the trees for a fledgling, I was impressed and intimidated to see these two birds, each the size of a large hawk, diving and screaming just over my head. And just as I was starting to think they might really be screaming directly at me, I heard something moving only a couple of yards from my feet. Looking down, I saw this:

A turkey right in our garden, and clearly the focus of the Ravens' ire. They were responding to it as they would any large animal (except humans and deer, which they seem to be used to ) getting too close to their nest tree: by screaming and scolding, "you better git the hell off our land if you know what's good fer ya!" The turkey had apparently responded by hunkering down by Betty's compost bin.

I pulled out my cell phone and started to take pictures. After a couple of minutes the ravens went off to scream at something else and the turkey and I were left to talk amongst ourselves. I went for my better camera, but finding the batteries dead, knocked on Betty's door and said, "Hi Betty, sorry to bother you, but there is a turkey in the backyard. You should bring your camera please."

It was a very tame turkey. I taking photos with my cellphone and Betty with her big digital SLR each stood about 10 feet from it. "People have been feeding it." I said as it watched us hopefully and I resisted the urge to feed it. It rooted around in the garden.

FeLion wandered out onto the patio and saw the turkey. Her response seemed perfectly split between, "That is the biggest bird I have ever seen, I'm gonna eat it." and "that is the bigest bird I have ever seen, I hope it doesn't try to eat me." She was frozen with indecision.

Betty's cat Sophie, on the other hand, was not at all reluctant to charge a bird twice her weight. She burst out of the bushes and sprinted toward the turkey, who turned tail and ran up the step to the very top of our yard.

When I caught up, the turkey was defending a position on top of the garden gate arch, and Sophie was attempting to storm the battlements.

Eventually she succeeded, and the Turkey took to the air, at which point the Ravens resumed their harrying. The turkey, pursued from above an below. stopped in a tangle of low Eucalyptus branches. Betty and I snapped a few more shots and then took the cats inside.

No comments: