roadside attractions

Last weekend, while driving along Hwy 43 near Kemptville, we caught sight of a flock of Turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo) foraging in a dried out stand of corn stalks at the roadside. Here in Ontario, farmers leave a several rows of corn stalks unharvested alongside roadways to act as windbreaks in place of snow fencing. In addition to being a windbreak, these stands offer some forage for Crows and Turkeys.

As invariably happens when you pull over to the shoulder of the road near the corn stalks, the Turkeys become suspicious and drift away in the opposite direction. We were quite amused by one Turkey that kept ripping at the corn, seemingly unaware of us, or that it’s pals had wandered off. After a few moments, it began to make curious clucking noises and turned its head from side to side. Seeing that it had been abandoned, it trotted off across the snow to rejoin its flock mates. I shot a short movie clip of this Turkey catching up with the others. Below is a still photo of the flock as it moves away across the snowy fields (click on both photos for larger views).

Tags: ,

6 Responses to “roadside attractions”

  1. Peter Says:

    I’ve encountered a couple lone turkeys recently running along the road sides around Mer Bleue, but they don’t stick around for photos when I pull over.

    A elk farmer in Kanata I was speaking too recently mentioned a wild flock had taken up residence along side his elk herd for the winter. He seemed a little annoyed but tolerated them :-)

  2. Dave Says:

    That’s a fun little movie! They’re such bizarre-looking creatures; the snowy field is a perfect backdrop.

  3. robin andrea Says:

    The bottom photo is quite beautiful, bev. There’s something about how the snow meets the white sky, and the turkeys with their corn stalks, that reminds me of a Wyeth painting. The movie clip is fun to watch. Turkeys are such turkeys!

  4. Cathy Wilson Says:

    Velociraptors, for sure :0)

    Great clip, Bev.

    Hard to believe there’s and food to be found this late in the winter.

  5. Wayne Says:

    Well that was just lovely, Bev. Of course I am captivated by wild turkeys and their ways.

    It seemed to me, though, that while they might have wanted to put a little distance between you and Don, they certainly weren’t panicked and continued to scavenged about. You must transmit the right signals!

  6. bev Says:

    Peter – Apparently, some of the farmers around here are beginning to view the turkeys as marauders now that their numbers have increased.

    Dave – I love the movement of the Turkeys. They’re so weird and primitive — sort of ostrich-like, with a bit of dinosaur thrown in.

    robin – Thanks. It’s interesting that you should mention Wyeth as I often get the “feel” of his paintings when looking at creatures or objects on the snowy fields. I think it’s the starkness of the unbroken foreground.

    Cathy – I’m quite amazed at how these birds manage to find enough food to survive through our winters, especially when you see them traveling in such large flocks. They do a lot of foraging in corn stubble, but this must have been a hard year for them as the snow was so deep.

    Wayne – You’re right. They weren’t particularly panicked by our presence. Most times, the birds will just move away while you’re present, and then wander back as soon as you depart. I think they spend so much time foraging in farm fields that they’re becoming immune to human presence.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.