Ah, Monday, when the hubbub of the weekend subsides and the house is quiet. It’s the perfect time for some animal watching, and today didn’t disappoint. I was about to go downstairs when DH whispered to me and beckoned me to the landing. I saw Linus in full saber-toothed cat mode, staring hard out the window. Then I saw our visitor: a wild turkey hen! She and Linus were having a staring contest, but my movement on the landing caught her eye and she backed off a bit. Cookies joined us on the landing to see what was going on, and when he noticed her he went into saber-toothed cat mode too. Never mind that the potential prey is about five times his height . . .
We watched her as she strutted along the patio and the side garden, pausing here and there to nibble something but mostly seeming as if she were waiting for somebody. It’s kind of strange to see a turkey on her own since usually they stick together in flocks, especially at this time of year when breeding season is nigh. In the past we have seen flocks of over twenty turkeys in the back yard, sometimes with four males displaying (and the ladies ignoring their efforts). One even displayed at me through the back door once — I guess I make an attractive turkey. But over the past year we haven’t seen them as frequently; perhaps the increased coyote (and bobcat!) presence has induced them to shift their base of operations. I miss them and was happy to see this one back and doing her thing.
I went back into the kitchen for some coffee and, a few minutes later, my eye was drawn to the back door again:
Could you resist this face?? I wonder if she would come in if I left the back door open, though having a panicked turkey in the living room probably isn’t a good idea — that wingspan is pretty huge. DH thinks perhaps someone has been feeding her, and the temptation to do so is certainly there. Unfortunately all my suitable turkey treats are in the barn, though I think I see a small cup of cracked corn being set aside in the house in case she returns. Perhaps also Cookies had a chance to explain how things work here at the Abbey:
EDITED TO ADD: After I published this post, I went back downstairs and the turkey was still there; she ended up spending about two hours hanging out on the back doorstep, and even came and tapped on the window of our back deck. Every so often the cats would go to the door and have a look at her. At one point while we were eating lunch in the kitchen, we heard Linus making little trilling/chirping sounds that we have not heard him make before; it sounded very much like the soft trilling that turkeys make to each other as the flock moves along foraging. I know some cats chirp when they are viewing potential prey from inside the house, but I have watched Linus hungrily watch chipmunks and birds from the window many times before and he has not chirped while doing so; moreover, jokes about being a saber-toothed cat aside, Linus knows very well that an adult turkey is not prey for him. To us, it really seemed as if Linus were trying to communicate with the turkey. He certainly would be familiar with them from his outside days. It was pretty amazing to hear, and I’d love to try to record it if it happens again. Who knew that we had a tri-lingual cat??