Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Turkeys and Turkey Vulture on New Year's Day

New Years Day 2014 -- 5 AM, Clear, 10 F

Around 7:30 am six female turkeys marched into our neighbor's yard from the back woods. They came from the southeast; I think they roost in the big white pines along the wetland edge. Our neighbors started putting out feed in December, so turkeys are now a daily feature in our yard too; they scratch around the base of our bird feeders. The females left after about 30 minutes, in single file they retraced their route back through the woods.

About an hour later six males with long beards marched single file to our neighbor's backyard following the same path as the females. Presumably the female turkeys clucked a bit of information to the males back in the woods somewhere. Or maybe the males just rousted themselves out of their tree roosts later than the females.

Here are two of the males under our feeders; note the long "beards" that hang down from their breast.
By late morning the temperature was in the high teens, the sky was mostly blue, and despite a light but brisk wind it was a good time for a walk on our now favorite nearby trails at the Piscassic River Wildlife Management Area. Kodi and Henna are always game for this outing, stopping now and then to joust with each other.
When we returned to the car a turkey vulture soared overhead. There was a time that vultures were rare in New Hampshire, and never seen in winter. Now they are year-rounders.
Not sure if the vulture sensed the pending storm, but it didn't seem to be in a hurry or rattled by the cold wind. We on the other hand, re-stacked a row of firewood, made kindling, and filled the wood box, in advance of a winter storm that may or may not bring a lot of snow, but surely will bring blowing snow, below zero temps, and even colder wind chill.  

Happy New Year All---stay warm and stay safe. 

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