This weekend it was raining hard and I had to avoid some local flooding, so my route home from church was a bit unfamiliar. I missed a turn about a mile from home and then pulled into the Grayledge Open Space parking lot to turn around. There we encountered a flock of turkeys-- about 4 or 5 long-bearded males, of which two were displaying. There also were over a dozen hens and possibly some young males (jakes) scattered around the tall grass and adjoining pasture.
Turkeys establish a fairly stable dominance system, with males and females having separate pecking orders (Reference*). Males and females form separate flocks which mix together only during the spring. In this flock the two most dominant males were displaying to each other, but it was clear that one enjoyed a higher status and the others yielded to him.
My photos, taken with an iPhone, are of poor quality. Note the beard length and the symmetry of the dominant male's tail feathers :
A male Ruby-throated Hummingbird perched on a slender stalk with the forest foliage in the background:
The sun was behind me. When he turned towards the camera the red reflection of his gorget was almost blinding:
Resident House Finches and a Mourning Dove share the Safflower seeds on the platform feeder:
I put out oranges in hopes of attracting orioles, but so far no luck. Only one or two chipmunks appear to have survived over the winter. We had over a dozen last autumn. The winter weather was hostile, with little snow but much rain with wide temperature swings. Chipmunks hibernate intermittently but need to awaken periodically to eat stored food and eliminate body waste. This one even ate the orange peels:
In contrast, the Woodchuck (aka Groundhog or Whistle Pig) hibernates deeply in its secure deep burrow and emerges later in the spring. This one has a particularly black tail and prefers to brows on weeds along the edge of the lawn:
The family calls him "Fat Boy." Here he is caught on the security camera as he descends the garden steps just outside our front door:
The swimming pool is now open:
A colorful sunset:
= = = = = = = = =
This week's header: Wild Turkey flock
= = = = = = = = =