Wild Turkeys

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Photo by Mark Seth Lender



The turkeys wade the close to catch the bees
In the old border full of maple trees
And often lay away and breed and come
And bring a brood of chelping chickens home.
The turkey gobbles loud and drops his rag
And struts and sprunts his tail and then lets drag
His wing on ground and makes a huzzing noise,
Nauntles at passer-bye and drives the boys
And bounces up and flies at passer-bye.
The old dog snaps and grins nor ventures nigh.
He gobbles loud and drives the boys from play;
They throw their sticks and kick and run away.

—John Clare (1793-1864)

Field Note

Late in the day Wild Turkeys call from the near woods.  An unearthly sound and a warning. A boney spur mounted on the back of each leg is like a driven nail through the end of a length of oak.  Angered, they fly up, rake down.  Then there will be blood – yours – and likely stitches. Benjamin Franklin wanted Wild Turkey, not Bald Eagle for the national bird. Draw close - but not too close – and carefully observe Wild Turkey's magnificence, their feathered iridescence, their fearlessness and strength of form, and see for yourself if the man who braved the wrath of lightning was wrong or right. 

Mark Seth Lender