Monday, February 14, 2011

There's Something About A Blue Face...

Love is in the air out here JOTOLR.  Our surviving turkey tom is preening  and parading for his harem of three hens (also survivors), and they seem quite enamoured of his overtures. 

Personally, a blue face that goes bluer with increasing ardor, along with the wildly red wattle that goes "redder", would not be my taste in Valentines.  But it's obvious the turkey hens love this suddenly strutty male.  The quick changes in the color of the tom's wattle-- going from white to brilliant blue and still more brilliant red--remind me of the cuttlefish that so ingeniously morphs from one disguise to another.  What primitive magic  and mystery is in these animals! 

To watch the tom thrust out his feathers to look almost twice his real size, his wings sweeping the ground, parading back and forth in front of his feminine audience, fanning out his tail, and declaring to the world at large that he is in love and in charge (the hens know better) is a double delight this year.  These hardy birds survived one heck of a winter out here JOTOLR, a winter loaded with risks and discomfort for them.  The recent dog attack and temperatures consistently close to zero all season long posed great uncertainties for their survival, but these four made it through. 

Some say turkeys are "stupid."  Think again.  For the skills they need to survive, they are far from it.  It's simply a matter of differing strategies needed for propogation of the species.  "Stupid" is such a subjective term.  Looking at things through a turkey's eyes, instead of human eyes, casts a whole different light on the concept of intelligence.

Happy Valentine's Day, turkeys!   We honor you for your tough spirit.  Enjoy your dance of love as you look forward to a much gentler spring.


  1. I love wild turkeys, Elora, and I really enjoyed your post (and the wonderful photo of the handsome tom). I agree with Benjamin Franklin that the wild turkey should have been our national bird. I think he said something about the bald eagle being a bird of bad moral character (because they steal others' food), but called the turkey a far braver and more respectable bird.

    Happy Valentine's to you, your husband, and your turkeys! :-)

  2. Elora -- Nothing is stupid in nature or the universe. All is connected. Love your turkey valentine story -- barbara

  3. A wonderful picture! He looks like something from Star Trek -- quite beautiful in an exotic way.

  4. Beth, I, too, wish the founding fathers had taken a second look at the turkey. A regal bird, to be sure! Much more deserving of the national emblem. But, as usual, America goes for the glitz, ignoring more basic considerations! And instead, if you're "stupid" (hats off to your comment Barbara...!) you're a real "turkey." We're absolutely hopeless. Avatar??!! Blue faces are "in!!"