Yes, Lorene and her babies chased a hawk, one I am familiar with whom I now refer to as Hawthorne. They were eating peacefully-- worms, fallen seeds-- when Lorene suddenly looked up. I noticed her looking up into the sky and trees. Now, turkeys look up in the sky often, so this is not unusual, however, this time her tail feathers became extended. Her largest baby, whom believe is a male because of its size, shook his body, held his wings out and ran with Lorene to the edge of the property. All at once, all of them ran towards a birch in the corner near the pond. What I found interesting about this behavior was the aggression. The turkeys were not running away from a predator, they were running after a predator in the trees. I ran out, snuck around the shed and saw it. Yes, a hawk. Hawthorne.
Yep, Hawthorne, our huge female red tail hawk. I've run into her before while looking up into my cedars as blue jays were doing their mob screams. I had thought the predator was way up in the tree and so had stood at the base looking up for a while. I unfortunately had no phone or camera, just wanted to see what was going on. Curious. I saw nothing, so turned to leave, and there she was--this massive raptor. The entire time I'd stood there searching the top of the cedar, Hawthorne had been sitting quietly on a lower branch, about nine feet from my face, staring at me. And when I say staring, I mean staring. There's nothing like a stare from a Hawk nine feet from your face. I stood. She perched. I said, "Well, aren't you gorgeous." She acknowledged my compliment. I could tell she agreed. I would say she's bit on the arrogant side. Anyway, she stared like this a while. Gorgeous lime green eyes. Chestnut, light brown extended head feathers. Large rotund torso-- white with reddish brown streaks. We had a moment. I wondered what she was going to do. Was she mad at me? Was she playing a stare game? Was she curious about me? It got a wee bit scary only because a hawk's eyes are so incredibly intense. Almost evil looking, although I do not think she's evil. She's just your basic serial killing hunter. I felt myself losing her stare game, so I cheated and walked to her side. "You're also a horrifying creature," I said, keeping my eyes on her. She perched another moment, and--probably because I cheated by moving and talking-- turned, leaned over, shot out a poop out and flew off. She didn't appear scared, and while her head feathers were extended, she didn't seem aggressive. I suspect she was telling me this was her territory, I was an invasive species but she would allow me to stay as long as I didn't interrupt her.
So, here she was again. And the turkeys were running after her? And she was flying away from them? I assumed the turkeys were not threatened by a raptor anymore because they were bigger. There was no way the hawk, even a big one like this, could grab a turkey this big out of a pack of them. But why chase the hawk? Were they protecting the squirrels and birds?
I grabbed my iPhone, but while I saw her up in the tree, I couldn't get a clear shot. She flew to another tree. And the turkeys followed, all staring up at her. That's when I caught the video, first of the turkey's trying to get behind the fence to the tree where Hawthorne was perched.
After she flew away, she perched on a nearby tree, turned her head and stared at me again. Some day I will invest in an expensive camera because my iPhone just doesn't capture the beauty of this creature. She truly is one gorgeous bird. I told her once again she was gorgeous. Once again we had a moment. Then she flew off.
The Disastrous, Useless Wall
The incredible damage done by the border wall, which simply replaces a fence and truly does nothing but make a statement, is not understood by most Americans. It's not understood because there is so much chaos in our country, the media is kept occupied daily. When we finally have sanity in the White House, we will begin to unravel the damage done to our country, starting with our environment. This wall damage has not been understood because the wall has been built in a remote area, removed, isolated, out of sight of eyes of most people. Furthermore, most of us don't appreciate our responsibility for damage to our wild life, or how that damage will eventually impact all of us. Click on the picture below to read about the damage and wasted money associated with Trump's Disastrous Useless Wall. Click on picture below to read article.
Hooded mergansers, gorgeous dancers...
Every late October and November, I am visited by hooded mergansers. Gorgeous, fishing-eating birds( Lophiodytes cucul atus) related to ducks but quite different than them-- or at least the mallards--in behavior. They are most like wood ducks, because they nest in trees, or small holes. Like wood ducks, they're also gorgeous. But these ducks can hold their breath and swim underwater. They have translucent eyelids that protect their eyes underwater, allowing them to hunt small fish and crustaceans. They dive quickly, disappearing for a minute or two, reappearing several yards down the pond. They eat tiny fish, insects, plant life, and down south--custaceans. While wood ducks nest here in the spring and summer, I've never seen hooded mergansers nest around here. I've never seen a hooded merganser chick. However, I see them court and mate all the time, because they visit me during courting season. They love to mate in my pond. Actually, my pond is a huge love bed for mallards, wood ducks, hooded mergansers.
When the hooded mergansers attract mates, they perform an interesting and unique head dance. The fully extended head feathers resemble a large white fan fully spread from the back to the front of their head. This makes them look very top heavy. In fact, when mating, they all look like they have massive heads that appear hard to balance upon their small bodies. When the females are ready to be entertained, the males lift their chests up, shake their fanned white feather back the forward, all while making this soft, buzzing sound. The female, with her chestnut fan, like all females in the bird world, calmly observes and makes her decision based upon beauty and skill. Below are two males performing.
Lorene and peace and Voting
So, election day, Lorene came to see me with the babies. Here she is, below. Her babies, who have successfully avoided fox, coyotes hawks, eagles and bobcats, have grown into beautiful young adults. I'm sure Lorene had something to do with their survival in our predator heavy world here on the coast of southeastern Connecticut. I was kind of surprised her runt has survived. I call her itty bitty . She's a bit too small, but she sure is resilient. I'm sure siblings help Mom look after her.
I knew Lorene was back because I heard loud drake grumblings and quaking in my yard. Drakes can get aggressive with each other and sometimes squirrels. When I looked out the window, there she was-- Lorene, wings spread out, her leg lifted, hopping up then scratching the duck. I've never ever seen a turkey go after anything. They fight with their feet. She did a little pecking, but her big weapons were her long fingers and talons. I suspect the Drake came strutting in and saw the runt, figured she was an easy target so pecked at her for the hell of it. There was no corn out there at the time, but maybe he was going after the few seeds that had fallen from the bird feeder. Drakes peck at others, quack, strut, pull feathers out if they can. All a show. They have their colors and feel sexy and aggressive. Which means they want to mate or fight or both.
Lorene kicked his butt. It's what females do best.
I was so impressed with her defense of the babies that I took all of them a little corn. When I walked out, Lorene came right up to me. Other turkeys run as soon as a human appears. Not Lorene. She wants corn, and she will come right up to the patio and demand it. She's tough, aggressive when necessary, and yet peaceful and kind to her babies.
She ate, then they strutted around the yard. Peaceful, calm, aware.
And that is what we'll all do today when we vote. We will be like the female turkeys. We will be peaceful, calm, aware. We will look after those who cannot look after themselves. And if any asshole tries to intimidate, we will kick their butt.
Vote for peace. Vote for a kinder country. Vote to save our great planet.
I like to write about people, animals, dogs. I enjoy ideas, good books about ideas, funny books about ideas, funny people who have ideas, advocates for people who don't have voices to express their ideas, and animals who have ideas we can't understand.