Saturday, October 30, 2010

Talking Turkey

I want to introduce you to my turkeys. My turkeys. Hah. Well, at least I think of them as mine since they are constantly in my yard! The babies (or poults) are all grown up now and hard to discern from the adult hens. Meet the girls. Say hello girls ...

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey
*gobble gobble gobble*

Gobble up all the food, that is!

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

What do you call a bunch of turkeys? There’s a gaggle of geese, a bevy or herd of swans, a pod of whales. Who comes up with this stuff and why? I have always referred to them as a flock of turkeys, which is a correct word. They can also be known as a brood; a bale; and a rafter. Hmm…where did bale and rafter come from? Did they sit on bales of hay and in the rafters of barns?

Yes, I feed the turkeys. Right now I am trying to train this brood of nine that visit two or three times a day. A few years ago I had a rafter of four or five that would come running over to me when I called them with food. They were so cute!! This bale is a little more skittish. (See, I am trying to decide which word I like best to call them by.) The minute I open the door they start running—the opposite direction. Except for one. She stands a short distance off, cocks her head while I tap the bucket with food and croon softly to her in turkinese. (Turkinese is my own little made up language of clucks and cooing noises.) She is taking my measure and I’m not sure she trusts me quite yet. I’m not sure the rest of them get it, but this one brave girl is really trying. She came really close to me the other day. I want them to realize that the crazy human that talks funny = FOOD.

Not the most attractive birds on the planet yet I find them endearing.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Not the most intelligent either. Do you remember the saying back in the—what was it, 70’s?— “dumb turkey?” It meant a stupid person. Poor turkeys. Such a bad rap! If Benjamin Franklin had had his way wild turkeys would be our national symbol instead of the bald eagle. He thought they were majestic and would make a fine symbol for the new country. Probably better than a bald eagle which is pretty much a lazy bird that would rather steal another bird’s kill than make its own kill. Sad, but true.

Mostly the turkeys stay in the front yard but occasionally they hop over the fence to visit the back yard. This has been happening more and more. Here they are running across the back yard.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

This afternoon I was upstairs and one window was open. I heard strange noises and stuck my head out the window to figure it out. It was the turkeys making all kinds of vocalizations I hadn’t heard before. (Not your typical gobble gobble.) Not fifteen minutes after I heard all this, I looked out to see that they had all gathered around the feeding area again. But wait ... there were more! Thirteen instead of the normal nine! Makes me wonder if they were chatting about joining up and creating one flock instead of two. Makes sense, since the other rafter was a mother hen and three poults remember them?

Just now as I sat typing this entry I looked out and they were back again. So, I went and got some more ground corn and took it out. They skittered away as usual, but this time four of them stopped and just stood there watching me. Not running away! Two hens started running toward me, then stopped. Still, I am making progress!

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Maybe they are not such “dumb turkeys” after all. Dumb or smart I love having them visit my yard.

P.S. Good fertilizer too!


Welcome, I'm Lynne. You know me better as a 'new' Jersey Girl. But now I've moved once again, this time to North Carolina. Here I write about my thoughts, good food, and of course, dogs.

© 2006-2023 Lynne Robinson All photography and text on this blog is copyright. For use or reproduction please ask me first.

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