Monday, November 22, 2010

A Rafter of Turkeys, and a November Bat

Wild Turkeys
Wild Turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo) were reintroduced into our heavily suburbanized watershed 15 or so years ago.  I know the individual who released the farm-raised wild stock in a county park downstream of my natural area.  The turkeys have securely established themselves, though their population density fluctuates annually.  The immigration of a healthy coyote (Canis laterans) population three years ago, which I thought at the time might doom the flocks, doesn't seem to have had a significant impact.
This year has been a banner year. 

Three hens coalesced their broods at the end of the summer and now there are at least 30 yearlings in my yard most of the time.  It doesn't help that I feed them, of course, but I like to enjoy their beautiful colors and their distinctly prehistoric gestalt.  Though they will eat whole corn, they prefer oil sunflower (naturally), and it gets expensive feeding 30 turkeys after a while.  People ask me if they're wild, and I tell them the flock's history and explain that feeding them has made them almost like pets.

I learned over the weekend, by the way, that a group of turkeys is called a "rafter."
Saturday afternoon, Kali and I went for a walk (at the county park where the turkeys were introduced, incidentally).  There, flying over an open field, was a bat gleaning insects. It was 55 degrees, and November 20, and there was a bat in mid-afternoon.  We watched  for several minutes while it cruised the air in search of prey.  We didn't know whether to be amazed or saddened, since the sighting was so strange, unexpected, and out of character for a bat.


Gail said...


great pictures - and I learned something new here today, "rafter" - who knew? :-)
We have wild Turkeys all around us here too. Amazing.
Happy Thanksgiving

Love Gail'

Scott said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you, too, Gail, but keep your hands off the Wild Turkeys in your neighborhood! I get so tired of all the jokes along the lines of: "Well, they'd better hide soon!" or "I guess you're going to be hunting soon!" First of all, "my" turkeys are like pets, and secondly, hunting them would be like shooting the proverbial "fish in a barrel."

Gail said...


I can assure all of the wild Turkeys are safe. I/we are NOT hunters of anything - we preserve all life. we even put spiders back outside that have rambled in.
Love to you