WTiaT

I need to get on the stick with these posts.  Between the yard work, running, birding and ramping up the Halloween prop lab for this year’s haunted trail (link here), things have been getting a bit bunched up.  I was going to wait a bit on this one, but an encounter a few days ago while hitting the trails for some training felt like a sign.

Wild Turkey found at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, Mission, TX in January 2021

Yes folks, we have our next installment of the “in a Tree” series.  This one is not as odd as the previous Roadrunner in a Tree as I’ve witnessed a Wild Turkey in a Tree (WTiaT) a few time times in the past.  Admittedly, on the rarer side as typically they are wandering around the ground or trying to play Frogger with Linda’s vehicle.  As luck would have it, this is one of the few species Linda doesn’t have a silhouette of on her front fender – for the record she stands firm her bumper is the victim of animal suicides.  

Wild Turkey found at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, Mission, TX in January 2021

Hit the jump see a few more shots of our large bodied tree climber.

Contrary to the domestic Turkey, Wild Turkeys do have the ability to get their plump bodies off the ground. Still a struggle to get enough lift to compensate for their 90-400 oz bodies. As far as the domestics go.. well, one quote pretty much says it all “As god as my witness, I thought Turkeys could fly”. If you are just out of the womb and haven’t seen that episode of WKRP in Cincinnati – stop reading this post immediately and go watch it (be sure and come back when done watching!). Hearkens back to a time where comedy writers could actually write compared to the crap that passes off as entertainment these days.

Wild Turkey found at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, Mission, TX in January 2021

For some quick background, this series comes from our January trip to southern Texas.  I was walking back to the RV while at Bentsen-Rio Grande State Park in Mission, when I got an uneasy feeling someone/thing was watching me.  Not a big deal as I get that feeling about 99.99% of the time – especially when birding with Ron as I’m pretty sure the forest trees are covered with his image on wanted posters.  “I’m not paranoid, I know they are after me!” 

Wild Turkey found at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, Mission, TX in January 2021

In truth, trained all my life to be extremely aware of my surroundings and surprisingly often I’m right – like this Turkey eyeballing me form the nearby tree.  Literally made me jump a little when I turned and saw it staring at me intently (see the shot below).   Saw those beady eyes sizing me up, then my focus shifted to those wicked looking claws, then I remembered the WKRP quote and laughed out loud – thankfully no one was around and saw that .. at least no one I saw.. hmmm.  Seeing that it had lost the jump on me, it proceeded to weave its way through the large branches.  Amazing nimble, I might add, for a bird that I had always thought was a bit clumsy. 

Wild Turkey found at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, Mission, TX in January 2021

It eventually made its way to the position in the first shot, which happens to be my favorite from the series. “Nothing to see here, just these two branches .. move along” We currently have at least one hen that hangs out in our woods. She usually has 1 to 3 offspring a year and likes to bring them around the various oak trees near the house or to my feeders for a mid-day snack. Tough job to get a poult to adulthood in our parts with the Hawks and Coyotes that roam the area, especially when they get no help from the Toms.

Oh, almost forgot to mention the catalyst encounter mentioned above. I was heading out onto the trails when a hunter comes out of the woods in a full on Ghillie suit and face paint (and you thought I was joking about all the people tracking me ha). Before your imagination runs wild, my primary training trails at Jubilee College State park are close until 1:00pm from April 13th to May 13th for Turkey hunting. A total pain in the ass as I like to get my runs in before the heat of the day takes over. As I ran by, I thought to myself – the size of a Turkey’s brain is probably no bigger than a nickel. If you have to go to those lengths to outwit one… we need to rethink our apex predator status – just saying.

Hope you enjoyed my brief encounter with a WTiaT.

14 thoughts on “WTiaT”

    1. Suspect as Timothy mentioned below he might just be entranced by the gear porn – they probably would say the same thing about me and my running shoes ha – but in my defense I am pitting wits with inner demons vs a marble (which I should have used in my reference above to give the Turkey just a little more credit). Thanks for dropping in CJ!

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      1. 😂 – gear porn is not limited to Turkey hunting I am afraid. They have all figured out how to make us want that newest gadget….(place hobbies here)! Always keep coming back as you never know WTIwFiaT. What thing I will find in a tree, on your site.

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      2. Yep, I definitely get excited when the latest racing gear comes out .. or the new Halloween props ahhh. I will have to remember WTIwFiaT – might have to borrow that.

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  1. We had feral turkeys that would hang out on the property. I have not seen them in a couple for years. I heard one story that a woman who moved here from California was scared of them and claimed one attacked her infant (not likely), so the Village animal control exterminated the feral turkeys. When they were hanging around, they would fly up into the cotton woods at dusk. It’s an amazing sight to see them fly. We had turkeys when I was growing up. I think hunters like the equipment and the adventure. You can buy a lot of turkey in the supermarket from the cost of equipment and time it takes to be outsmarted by a turkey. Excellent photos.

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    1. I have never witnessed a Turkey “attacking” a human – maybe evil stares from afar, but most of the time they are quite content to walk around with their eyes to the ground – maybe she was confused with a Canada Goose – now those bastards will let you have it if you mess with their offspring. As I mentioned to CJ above, think you are right about the gear porn – see the same thing during Deer season even though the Deer are acclimated to humans being in the park during the summer months. Your last parody song was brilliant!

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      1. Some of our big Tom turkeys would flap us with their wings now and then, but the feral turkeys are timid from what I’ve seen. Roosters are another thing. I’ve had some good fights with roosters and geese. One time Laurie’s prissy sister was bending over looking at a coatimundi and a kernel I took car of when the owners went on vacation. An old goose had it’s head down to the ground and snuck up on her and pinched her in the butt. She was so mad for us watching and then laughing. It was hilarious. Thanks on the parody.

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    1. Appreciate that Reed! Our numbers here in the Midwest have been declining – at least in our woods and surrounding fields – seen a lot of them the last couple of trips to Texas (one flock probably had at least 30 of them at one NWR we visited). Around here it is the Coyotes that take the adults and the Owls keep a close watch for unattended offspring. Unfortunately, our Fox population is impacted by the same predators and rarely see them out and about.

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  2. Love the color and pattern in this hen’s feathers, and how all that color and depth makes it blend right into the tree bark. I’ll never forget the first time I was down in Galveston on a little one-lane subdivision road. Got out at twilight to take photos of some peacocks on the ground, and then found they were roosting up in a giant Live Oak tree, tails all hanging down like silky banners from the dark branches. Ethereal. Enjoyed the side-trip over to your Halloween posts – total Yikes!

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    1. The somewhat dreary day allowed the colors to pop nicely. If it wasn’t for that I might have completely missed the Turkey from the blending – definitely have the right camouflage as long as they keep their heads tucked down ha. Your Peacock story reminds me of the one I saw not too far away from there near the entrance to Goose Island. We were checking out the Whoopers near the Big Tree and noticed this beautiful Peafowl just walking down the road. Careful when you are over on the mothership blog – never know what creepy sights you might find over there! The Halloween prop lab is in full production year round for the big event. Now that I am retired, I have even more time to devote to the new additions for this year! Appreciate you dropping in Sam and joining the conversation.

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  3. We hear them in the trees more than see them. Some mornings and owl will make itself known and the turkeys get their dander up. The morning goes something like this: all is quiet and still when a barred owl announces itself, quickly followed by a cacophony of turkey calls from the trees. Then I could swear I hear the owl laugh.

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    1. Clever! The Owl gets the marble brained Turkeys to reveal their hiding place – brilliant. Any chance that is followed up by Vultures asking when dinner will be served?

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