Posted by: atowhee | May 17, 2022


My wife and I have co-habited for over a decade among Wild Turkeys in Ashland and now Salem.  I feel it is much like life in a college dorm.  These neighbors are loud, bold, social, unpredictable, always hungry.

Yesterday there was a frat party in our garden last evening.  Three males showed up, and chowed down.  Makes me think many of the local campus hens are on eggs in some secluded spots.  They nest on the ground in a scraped out depression.  Some local litter may be used to line or surround the nest—no stick carrying, thank you very much.  A typical clutch is 10-14 eggs.  The turkey nests once per year unless the whole first clutch is lost.  The tom is nowhere to be seen so the hen does all the family stuff.  She incubates eggs until they hatch after about four weeks.  Within a couple of days of hatching the chicks begin to follow mom who feeds them until they are able to find their own forage.

The young will not fly for weeks, but get pretty good at running after a few days.  No lingering in a soft nest like baby robins or herons.

There is one couple, tom and hen, that still arrive together to feed.  Not joining the fraternity.  This tom is very protective of his mate.  He lowers his outer wing feathers until they touch the driveway pavement then rustles them along, making a sound like distant thunder.  And his gobbles are loud, sharp and meant to intimidate. Here’s one doing the wing drag:

Turkeys are not our only loud neighbors (besides a couple lawn mowers and chickens after laying an egg). We are part of Morningside Crow Kingdom. I mentioned to my wife recently that we should be proud of our little part in evolution. We may have had long-gone ancestors were Cro-Magnon. We ourselves risen to become Crow-Magnets.

Crows are slow to trust our kind. The above images were taken through a window. But still, when we go outside:

These are tanager days–I see returnees almost daily near our house. They will move on to more forested areas when they start nest preps.

Thus handsome male kestrel was hunting at Mill Creek Industrial Park (wetlands) on my recent visit. All the wintering birds are gone–it is so quiet without the cackling cacklers who’ve left for Alaska.

954 Ratcliff Drive SE, Marion, Oregon, US
May 16, 2022 7:20 AM
Protocol: Incidental
17 species

Canada Geese fly over (thankfully)

Mourning Dove  X
Northern Flicker  X
Steller’s Jay  1
California Scrub-Jay  X
American Crow  X
Black-capped Chickadee  X
White-breasted Nuthatch  1
European Starling  X
American Robin  2
House Finch  2
Pine Siskin  1
Lesser Goldfinch  2
Dark-eyed Junco  2
Song Sparrow  1     singing
Spotted Towhee  1
Black-headed Grosbeak  1

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