Sunday, November 14, 2010

Thanksgiving Turkey and Hat Ornaments

As I was drifting awake this morning, an annoying, repetitive sound ground through my pleasant slumber into my consciousness. At first I thought it was something that had gone wrong with the furnace blower, causing it to make a weird squeaking sound: tau tau tau tau... tuck tuck tuck. I got up to investigate while grabbing my camera which I'd left out the night before, ready to photograph my new hat ornaments.

The cat came yowling around the corner, then ran back into the living room. I followed her to the source of the sound. A large wild turkey was sitting on the railing outside the front door, calling incessantly. It looked in the window at the cat and me, unperturbed. In fact, it leaned close to the glass to look at us, calling and squeaking.

I snapped several pictures of it, wondering what it was doing here. (Domestic turkeys are very stupid birds but the wild ones always seemed more savvy to me. Until now.)

After an hour of watching the bird calling, I decided to get on with my photographing of hat ornaments. When I took some of them outside to shoot I thought the turkey would fly off. It didn't. In fact, it seemed curious.

I began cooing to it in my bird voice (the one I use to call the birds to the feeder) "Heeeeer birdy birdy birdy birdy." The turkey stopped, cocked its head to look at me, then began making its own cooing noises and waddled over to me.

Holy cow, I thought, this can't be normal. Maybe it's sick and I'd better stay away from it. I turned and went inside to shoot more ornaments.

In a few minutes, when I was upstairs in my studio processing the photos, I heard the squeaky call outside my window. It had come up onto the deck below me and was calling and looking in the windows at the back of the house. Yikes. It was following me through some psychic bird radar! I went downstairs and looked at it through the french doors. Slowly, I opened the door and stepped outside, cooing to it again. Every time I cooed, it repeated what I said in the same cadence but in its own language. We were having a conversation only I had no idea what we were saying to each other. I put a bit of birdseed into my hand and held it out to Tom, who sauntered right up to me. It didn't seem interested in the food at all. It just looked at me, close enough for me to pet it (which I didn't.) I went back inside because my bare feet were freezing.

Our turkey friend stayed around the house for three hours, sometimes at the front window, sometimes at the back, always calling and peering inside.

Stranger things have happened here in my little house in the woods but this was pretty interesting. Yesterday was the first day of hunting season. Maybe it was saying, "Save me!"

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