Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Turkey Hen Strategies to Protect Her Poults

As usual when one spies a turkey hen with poults, they are disappearing into cover.
Two little poult heads peer at me as the car creeps toward them.

I wait for the typical disappearing turkey tail feathers into the foliage as I continue to creep along the road..

But wait!

Will wonders never cease; The hen has reappeared.
I get closer but she holds her position and I realize she is looking at something beyond me.

I pass the hen and realize that they hadn't hidden in foliage, they'd laid low behind a rise in the ground.  These poults aren't long out of the egg.  There could be as many as 15 or 20 of them.

Now they all do head into the long grass.

But Mom comes back out having told the little guys to stay in whatever way Turkey Moms communicate STAY  to poults.

This is all very unusual.
And she continues to distance herself from cover, still looking "over there".  Do Turkey Hens use themselves as decoys?  Not that I know of.

Suddenly she turns back and starts to trot toward the bushes.
And the answer to this riddle comes racing out over the gravel to his mother as fast as his little legs will carry him.
In fact he is running so fast he is leaping with each step.  See.  Neither foot is on the ground.
Tail End Charlie makes it into the bushes but Mom isn't following.
As I'd followed her laterally before and as  I didn't turn down the driveway she has decided to go in a new direction, one exactly opposite to the sitting car.
She's going further away but she is also getting closer to the cover as she goes.  The poults are about to expose themselves but it is faster going for the little guys in the shorter grass.
Further away but slightly more exposure.  Mom is keeping an eye on me but also on them.  I wonder if turkeys can count?

The poults are starting to come out but she has started to go in.  Whether they can count currently isn't relevant as vocalizations are currently doing the job of communicating presence.

Mom checks on me.  Most of the poults never left cover and the rest are going back to cover.
Only one poult left exposed and he's going in.
 And then there is nothing left but the tip of Mom's tail.  And a split second later it is as if they had never existed.

Good trick that.

1 comment:

sally said...

Props to Rob and what cute turkeys! Any word from the Cathedral or how Norman is doing?