Monday, December 6, 2010
Photo Credit:US Fish and Wildlife Service
This is probably one of Gladys’s relatives, although she’s estranged from her flock. Couple of weeks ago, I noticed a hen turkey pecking around the foundation of first the house and then the garage. Peck. Peck. Peck. Head down and fully engaged in her pursuit of food, Gladys had decided to venture into civilization. It appeared she had made this a permanent move, as day after day, she continued settling in. The reason for her decision was most likely a game leg. She was limping badly, and I suspected she hadn’t been able to keep up with the rest of the flock, when they moved on.
It’s December, and it’s been snowing hard off and on these past two weeks. Before that there was a spate of bitter cold temps, and that’s when Gladys, as we’ve come to call her, discovered that the foundation of the garage gave off enough heat for survival. The garage has radiant heat in the floor, and this makes the temperature of the foundation just warm enough to serve as a concrete turkey lure.
After a couple of days of serious pecking, it became obvious that the frozen ground wasn’t going to do it. So, up to the barn with a pan to fetch some of the goat feed for the newest stray that decided to call Breeswood Meadows Valley Ranch, home. Now John does an excellent turkey call, and his gobble gobble is famous. He can communicate whatever turkeys need to know, and I’ve taken notes, over the years, trying to develop some modest measure of prowess for myself.
Pan of feed in hand, I decided on the proper spot to establish the turkey feeding station. Morning seemed best, so at 7:30, I opened the door and began the first turkey training lesson. Since Gladys seemed partial to the front porch area and my flower beds by the house, I tossed out a handful of grain, and warbled my best gobble, adding “Gladys” to the mix, hoping to create a Pavlov-like association in her turkey brain.
First couple of days she waited to make an appearance until after I’d gone back inside, but two days ago, there she was, waiting on the snow by the fence, staring at the house. When she heard the grain rattle in the pan, accompanied by my soulful gobble call and the sound of her name, she came limping to breakfast – wings flapping. I’m making good progress. She flies in on time, keeping to a better schedule than most airlines, and I think she’s getting used to me. I opened the door and she didn’t panic. So we shall see.
Maybe an Easter turkey dinner, slow cooked with chestnut stuffing. After all, there’s no such thing as a free lunch.