Here at the farm, life’s little dramas can be anywhere. This afternoon while taking an after-lunch break to read, I heard the sound of gobbling coming from the pasture below the house. It got nearer…then nearer still. I slipped to the window, and saw two handsome turkey toms trying to out-strut and out-gobble each other.
As I watched, they turned and approached each other. They got closer and closer, each trying to outdo the other.
Then, off to the side I saw the object of their affections, a solitary hen peck-peck-pecking her way through the grass. In trying to win her favor, would they come to blows, I wondered? My dad always told the story of an encounter he witnessed many years before when two groups of turkeys met on the dam of our stock tank. When they met, he said the turkeys in both groups engaged in a furious skirmish that lasted several minutes. Then one group withdrew back the way they had come. It happened in the fall…deer hunting season, not in the spring when turkeys are courting, so Daddy never knew what sparked the animosity. Perhaps it was a territorial thing. Nevertheless, I still have hopes of seeing another such encounter.
I was holding my breath and trying to steady the camera as the two toms came closer and closer, tails fanned, heads erect and wings brushing the ground. Then, just as their breasts appeared to touch, the smaller of the two turned aside, “deflated” and retreated, with the victorious gobbler following in full strut.
When he had put a little distance between himself and his rival, the loser ventured another strut, but quickly thought better of it and hurried away.
And, as you might expect, while the guys were busy huffing and puffing and competing for her attention, the hen nonchalantly wandered away, unimpressed by it all.