Flash in the Pan
A Quarterly Posting at Tiny Lights
Turkeys Have Invaded
by Richard Comfort
Where did they come from? I began wondering about that very question as I watched a gaggle promenade through my backyard. They've been here now for over six years. Before that I had seen nary a one. Did they migrate in from the east or did they march right in from the north or the south peeling off east and west to both sides of the Sonoma Valley staking out territories? When they first got here these birds were smallish, but now they are hefty critters. I think they are vying with the deer for the title of over population champions.
I got to thinking. This is a story right in front of me. The turkey explosion story. One afternoon as I walked my dog along the fringe of a nearby forest, in among the trees I heard the turkey critters gobbling. I could not see them, but I sensed they were performing a ritual unknown to man. Could I scientifically observe them, taking notes like Dianne Fosse? Could I become known as the turkey geek. Didn't somebody write about the real life of dogs? Why not turkeys? I could call it the real life of turkeys.
I wondered, "Has anyone else written on the topic?" Pulling my dog by his leash, I rushed home to my computer where I set about researching. Immediately, I pulled up a story from Marin. Somebody had done a turkey article already. Wow, the fascinating story about the lives of turkeys is out. As usual, I was one step behind.
It cooled my interest considerably. After all, aren't turkeys supposed to be really dumb? And my plan was to pack a lunch, take a tape recorder and follow them for a day. How dumb was that?
On the other hand, the story from Marin did not really touch on the behavior of turkeys. It was more about the response of the human population. My story would be different; investigative reporting getting inside the turkeys' minds. "Let's see," I thought. "What do I see these fascinating creatures doing?" A vision formed in my mind; a line of turkeys passed before me. Hunt, peck, hunt, peck. That's what they do, punctuated by random GOBBLES…always the same routine. Not even PECK and then HUNT. Clearly, I am slipping into senility. I always maintained that when I retired I could do any doggone think I wanted. But, follow dumb turkeys? Eat my lunch behind a rock and electronically intercept their gobbling conversations? Is that it? Maybe I should rethink my plan.
My god, I hope the next best selling animal/nature book is not about the secret life of turkeys.
Richard Comfort stalks ideas and turkeys in Sonoma, CA.
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