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Search Results for: turkey

Monthly Science: Hawk and Squirrel, with Turkeys

All of the local turkeys come together during snow storms, often lingering in the circle of pine trees in our back yard to get some protection from the wind. Mary spotted a Cooper’s Hawk in the midst of the turkey flock, with its wings spread around a recently captured meal:

Hawk with squirrel - wings spread

Hawk with squirrel – wings spread

When she first saw it, the hawk had its back to us and looked like a cluster of dead pine branches; the recent back-to-back storms have cleared out quite a bit of deadwood.

When I quietly opened the back door for a better view, the hawk noticed and gave me the stinkeye from 100 feet away:

Hawk with squirrel - 2

Hawk with squirrel – 2

The flock had moved out of the pine circle to surround the hawk and examine the situation, although they weren’t harassing it:

Hawk with squirrel - 3

Hawk with squirrel – 3

We’ve counted 27 turkeys, more or less, on some days, well and truly outnumbering the hawk:

Hawk with squirrel - overview

Hawk with squirrel – overview

Fortunately, turkeys feed mainly on insects and seeds, rather than tearing into carrion, so they’re not competing for the prize:

Hawk with squirrel - detail

Hawk with squirrel – detail

Shortly after I gave up and went back inside, the hawk sank her (?) talons into the squirrel, lifted heavily into the air, circled around the pines, and flew off toward the Mighty Wappinger Creek out back.

A casual search suggests both the hawk and the squirrel weigh about 1 lb = 500 g: I’ll never complain about heavy grocery bags again!

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Turkey Vultures on a Rainy Day

These vultures decided to hang out high atop our neighbor’s tree during a recent day-long rainstorm:

Turkey Vultures - rainy day

Turkey Vultures – rainy day

There may be a third vulture on the branch behind the big clump of pine cones near the trunk.

This seems about as disgusted as a vulture can appear:

Turkey Vultures - rainy day - detail

Turkey Vultures – rainy day – detail

I think that’s a young vulture, without the red face of more mature specimens.

They spent most of the day there, then flew off about their business. We’re sure they spent most of the next day drying out.

Taken with the (new-to-me) DSC-H5 and 1.7× teleadapter; no extra charge for the purple fringes.

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Monthly Image: Turkey Mating

Early spring brings out large turkey flocks and provides a window into their otherwise rather private lives.

Despite all the strutting and posturing by the males, the ladies call the shots. When we see a hen go hull-down like this, we know what’s about to happen:

 Turkey mating - invitation

Turkey mating – invitation

Getting into the right position seems remarkably awkward and requires some cooperation:

Turkey mating - mounting

Turkey mating – mounting

When her head and tail pop up, you know the thing is going right:

Turkey mating - the moment

Turkey mating – the moment

And a back massage always feels so fine:

Turkey mating - massage

Turkey mating – massage

Then he’s back to strutting & posturing:

Turkey mating - aftermath

Turkey mating – aftermath

We hope they’ll show us their chicks

Taken with the DSC-H5, hand-held through two panes of 1955-era window glass: ya get what ya get.

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Turkey on the Rail

We’ve often seen turkeys perched on horizontal tree branches and split-rail fences, but this is new:

Turkey on patio rail

Turkey on patio rail

Apparently she wanted to use the bird feeder atop the post festooned with plastic squirrel deterrence. Not being Elastigirl, she couldn’t quite stretch from rail to feeder, eventually gave up trying, and flapped to the driveway.

We’ve been turkey-watching for nearly two decades, it’s been eight years since we saw a turkey on the patio, and a few days after I set up the yard camerashazam, this bird shows off for my friend in Raleigh while I’m in the Basement Laboratory. I’m insane with jealousy.

In point of fact, turkeys seem perfectly aware of people inside the house, so it’s not surprising they avoid the patio. When we move close to a window, the flock decides it has business elsewhere and, generally without haste or confusion, flows over the hill and away.

Obviously, I must set up motion detection and capture some images …

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Monthly Image: Turkey Vulture Sunning

This must feel soooo good:

Turkey Vulture atop utility pole - alert

Turkey Vulture atop utility pole – alert

Just close your eyes and soak up the warmth of the sun:

Turkey Vulture atop utility pole - snoozing

Turkey Vulture atop utility pole – snoozing

Turkey vultures look imposing, even with all that flight hardware tucked away:

Turkey Vulture on branch

Turkey Vulture on branch

However, I think this is a low-status bird, because those splashes on the left wing look a lot like bird crap…

Taken with the DSC-H5, zoomed all the way tight with the 1.7× teleadapter, handheld on a lovely sunny day.

Update: Because I write these posts a few days in advance of their appearance, I didn’t know yesterday’s weather would look like this:

Driveway clearing - 2017-03-14

Driveway clearing – 2017-03-14

That’s a screenshot from a Raspberry Pi streaming camera I set up so a friend in North Carolina could gloat.

I suppose the vultures huddle in a tree, as do the turkeys, and await better flying conditions.

Enjoy the sun while it shines!

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Turkeys in the Snow

These guys looked completely disgusted with the situation:

Turkeys on rail fence in snow

Turkeys on rail fence in snow

They’re about 130 feet away in a heavy snowstorm that eventually deposited about a foot of wet snow on the area.

The top rail really does slant downward: the tenon on the right end broke and fell out of the mortise.

The DSC-H5 carries the 1.7× teleadapter, zoomed all the way tight through two layers of 1955-ish window glass, hand-held, braced against the pane.

The day before that snowstorm, we biked 18 miles out-and-back over the Walkway in beautiful, sunny, mid-50s (°F) weather:

KE4ZNU-9 - APRS track - 2017-02-08

KE4ZNU-9 – APRS track – 2017-02-08

We ride when we can and shovel when we must!

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Monthly Image: Turkeys in the Trees

A turkey flock forages through the bottomlands along the Wappinger Creek and, at night, roosts in the trees at the far end of our driveway:

Roosting Turkeys - visible

Roosting Turkeys – visible

I’m a sucker for that moon:

Roosting Turkeys - visible

Roosting Turkeys – visible

It’s rising into the eastward-bound cloud cover bringing a light snowfall, so we missed the penumbral eclipse.

If you’re counting turkeys, it’s easier with a contrasty IR image:

Roosting Turkeys - infra-red mode

Roosting Turkeys – infra-red mode

Mary recently counted forty turkeys on the ground, so that’s just part of their flock. I think their air boss assigns one turkey per branch for safety; they weigh upwards of 10 pounds each!

Taken with the DSC-H5 and DSC-F717, both the the 1.7× teleadapter, hand-held in cold weather.

Searching the blog for turkey will turn up more pix, including my favorite IR turkey shot.

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