Wood’s Journal, Friday, March 11, 2016


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blog sketch turkey tomWritten by: Martin James Wood

Friday, March 11, 2016

Sky: blue sky with very moderate cumulus clouds

Air: comfortably cool with an  intermittent light breeze

Precipitation: none

Ground: dry

Sunshine: bright sunshine

Temperature: 42 degrees

Time out: Friday mid-morning

In the woods and fields of Pennsylvania, this week’s spring-like weather has given us temperatures ranging from about thirty degrees on up through the mid-seventies. The college basketball ‘March Madness’ is now upon us and people are filling out their brackets. The Republican debate this week with Trump, Cruz, Rubio and Kasich was a much more civil display than some of their past debates. Bernie and Hillary went head to head with their debate and the March 8th Primaries still show Trump and Clinton out ahead with delegate popularity. Players, fans, politicians and media, all are needing to strut their stuff to prove their expertise of what they do…

Outside my cabin door, I notice the refreshing intermittent breeze as I espy the waltzing pines. I also instantly take note of the increased bird activity and song. There are more robins about today than I have seen yet this approaching spring.

I choose to take a wooded path not far from the cabin this morning and proceed to step off the front porch and trek along. As I enter the trail, I observe the definite shadows from the trees on the dry woody earth as the sunshine is very vibrant this morning. The treetops above sway with the comfortable cool breeze. The sky above them shows-off it’s deep blue color and also leaves room for some magnificent white formations to admire.

I don’t go very far before some movement catches my attention along the trail. Crouching behind a wide oak, I get comfortable to watch a hen sashay up the trail toward me. Looking between the trees to see if I can find more, I soon spot more movement and long behold, I’m studying six turkeys feeding about. As time goes on, more movement a little further beyond them also catches my attention and now I’m surveying a full strutting Tom. Using my binoculars, I examine his behavior. He paces back and forth and never moves toward the hens. He drops his wing feathers real low to the ground and drags them as he puffs his body feathers way out as to appear as a large black ball about twice his size. Then he raises his huge fan of tail feathers straight up toward the blue sky and continues to walk real slow and smooth-like, still dragging his wing feathers. It really is quite a sight…

A closer examination of him allows me to attentively regard his colors of shiny green, on the sleek black ball of his body, and blueish white head all speckled about with red, which has a red and white comb hanging and waving over the beak. His head is considerably larger than the hens’ that he’s trying to entice. The fan of tail feathers are brown and whitish tipped. His beard hanging out from his chest has to be at least nine to ten inches in length. He is definitely a majestic sight to behold…

The hens, who are not as majestic in appearance but are quite an exhibit of their own with their long slick bodies, long legs and finely contoured heads, seem to not pay any attention to ‘strutting Tom’. They ruffle their feathers and shake them out from time to time and just remain focused on their feeding of the nuts upon the forest floor. Tom isn’t interested in feeding at all. He remains concentrated on his strutting and watching his harem quite intently, occasionally calling out to them in a low soft subtle, yelp, yelp, yelp,,, yelp…

The hens decide to head in the opposite direction of him and are suddenly spooked by something… They take to the sky in that direction… I detect that this bothers him as he paces faster,,, and then, he eventually stops strutting,,, and quickly, he strides in their direction,,, and eventually, he flies after them, as he is,,, needing to strut his stuff to prove his expertise of what he can do…


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© 2016, The Wood’s Edge Publications/Martin James Wood. All rights reserved.

About Martin James Wood

Nature enthusiast Martin James Wood is an outdoor writer and blogger for The Wood's Edge. He has spent his life among the forests and woods, admiring nature with a camera and pen. His writing, artistry, and outdoor photography celebrate nature’s simplicity and beauty. A Pennsylvania native, Martin James is a loving father and husband, and a friend to our nation’s forests who believes in protecting and preserving our wild lands.

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