Isn’t It Romantic

Not unlike many women, I thrill to hear those three magic words. My husband doesn’t say them often, but when he does, it’s always meaningful. He purposely seeks me out, sometimes rushing into the house or all the way out to the garden to find me, just to say those three words: “Get your camera.”

As I happily stop what I’m doing to grab my camera or cell phone, I say three words back: “What is it?” Whatever it is, I know it’s going to be good. He’s going to take me to see something unique & probably fleeting. Could be a first-time or a once-in-a-lifetime sighting. Something he knows will be amazing to me.

This happened yesterday. I got my camera & followed him. We didn’t have to go far. He led me to this:

First time discovery. It’s a wild turkey nest with a clutch of 11 brown-flecked eggs. We see turkeys galore around our property all year, but have never found a nest. The photos below reveal location.

Here you can see the tree alongside the nest.

And here you see the entire tree. She was right under our noses, between our dooryard & field! Ken was mowing the field around the garden. Though he does not mow where the nest is (we never mow the leafy swale), the turkey got nervous when he came close & bailed out of the ferns, thus tipping her hand.

We left the field for the evening, hoping she would return to sit her eggs for the night. She did, thankfully. I carefully crept out there today, hoping to capture her on the nest without disturbing her.

She’s on the eggs. Can you see her shiny brown back? I could not see her at all. I was taking photos by raising my camera arm’s length above my head & shooting blindly, hoping to get something. I’m also creeping through hip-high swale brush in a pair of shorts & sandals (poor planning), trying not to think about ticks or poison ivy. Another step forward, I got this:

Hello! Just as I snapped, she stood up. If you click on the photo to enlarge it, you can see a glimpse of eggs in the weeds at her feet. I thought she’d run off, but we both froze. She was making a raspy, hissing noise mixed with a gargling chirp, while giving her best threatening look. I have to say, for a split second I did actually think “Uh-oh, this could be bad. She’s got the high ground, and I can’t run fast in hip-high brush.” Then I remembered: she’s just a turkey :-) Whew!

I dutifully backed off. She sat back down. That’s that. We won’t disturb her again. Let’s hope no coyotes, foxes or raccoons find her at night. Turkeys normally roost (sleep) in trees at night for safety, but once nesting, she must stay on the ground for 28 days until her eggs hatch. After that, I assume she’ll have to stay down to warm her chicks until they feather out. And I have no idea how long until they are able to fly up into trees! It’s a wonder any of them survive to adulthood. But miraculously, some always do.


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7 Responses to “Isn’t It Romantic”

  1. heatherlorin Says:

    very cool.

  2. mary taitt Says:

    WOW! A supernatural experience for sure! SUPER-natural, that is.

    One thing about having these super experiences is being where they might occur–the chances of my finding a wild turkey nest in Detroit are about nil.

    But not 100% nil, as some wild turkeys were released on Belle Isle. I got some shots of them when they wer first released and stupid–but haven’t seen them since. (Maybe they were et.)

    YAY! Wild Turkeys in your own backyard–I’m jealous. LOL! Envious?


  3. Scott Says:

    Beautiful pics and beautiful care and respect. I and my wild turkey[s] were not so fortunate.
    I was out mowing thigh high weeds behind my home. I do this to keep noxious and non native weeds under control while keeping other wildlife such as ground hogs, rabbits, deer, coyotes, raccoons, and mosquitoes at a manageable distance.
    While mowing near a pear tree, I ran over a turkey nest with 7 eggs damaging two and removing the natural cover. I was deeply saddened. I would occasionally hear the vocalizing of turkeys from my back bedroom in the morning but I had no idea where exactly they were. I also did not know their nesting habits so as to be careful around trees in the meadow I was mowing in. I have seen turkeys and their nests out back before but more out in the open and never before with eggs.
    The next day under a light rain, I saw two adult turkeys in the back. One had 8 young in tow while the other was casually walking a ten foot radius around the nest site and later toward the site. I would later determine that there was no sign of a nest, eggs, broken or whole. Mary thought that the site had been predated given the site was exposed and two of the eggs had been damaged. She was puzzled however that there was no evidence that anything had been there prior. That is, no egg shells, no fluids, no yolks as the two damaged eggs revealed earlier. I’m thinking a raccoon devoured the contents of the nest. It ruined an otherwise pleasant day

    • henniemavis Says:

      Yes, ruined nests (by us or otherwise) are a bummer… but it happens.

      My turkey has since vacated her now empty nest also. We have not seen a turkey hen w/chicks, so I can’t say what happened. The nesting area was not dessimated, to my untrained eye… and yet, some eggshells were there, mostly halves or 3/4 whole, but empty. I found 6 shells (2 in nest, 4 strewn at random within 12 ft. of nest). Did the babies hatch? Were they eaten? I’ll never know!

      Re: “I’m thinking a raccoon devoured the contents of the nest. It ruined an otherwise pleasant day.” Not for the raccoon, just sayin’ :-)

  4. mary taitt Says:

    Sad to hear about this, Hennie! Of course, the predators do have to eat too–and maybe they did hatch.

    And Scott, how sad for yoU!

  5. henniemavis Says:

    Hooray, I stand corrected!! Click here for turkey babies update:

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