|Hen on the Lookout|
|Turkeys Passing Through|
|Not a Peep|
|Curious Sign Among the Potatoes|
|Flattened Gopher Mound|
|Turkey Feathers Remain|
|Missing Onions in a Row|
Actually my toes are too cold to water so early this morning. In the meantime, I'm listening for the near-silent peeps of wild turkey hens and their fledglings.
Turkeys graze swiftly -- a grasshopper here, a clover head there; move along children, hustle ladies. Brown bodies move like melting chocolate through golden grass. Blue heads shovel low enough to be incognito until one periscopes above the grass line.
Yesterday nothing would break Grenny's focus. I whistled, offered kibble and scolded. He was snuffling among my potatoes and onions. I had to physically pull him from the patch. That is when I noticed the poop and feather. A turkey feather.
With the dogs inside, I thought about turkeys in my garden. Is this the reason my onions have diminished? Before coming to any wild turkey conclusions, I went outside to investigate.
Potato patch seemed fine. I'm definitely missing onions, but no sign that turkeys pulled them. Poop. Another feather. More poop. But wait...
The gopher mounds look odd. Flattened. I walk behind the house where the worst of the mounds erupt. They are simply gone. Raked and hosting several turkey feathers.
Why would turkeys do this?
You might wonder why I don't kill the gophers. The most effective method is poison. If you poison gophers, then you poison everything that feeds on the rodents -- eagles, hawks, owls, foxes, badgers and coyotes. It could flush into Elmira Pond and seep into our water table.
Instead, I aim for balance. After all, I have a gopher-killing cat in residence, a dog that hunts gophers and a husband.
Todd's job is to hose emerging holes near my gardens. We stake the main kitchen garden with sonar and so far, it's remained gopher-free. I plant marigolds, and circle the potato patch with onions.
About those onions...hold that thought.
Naturally curious about the turkeys and the gopher holes, I went next to the Internet. I found a clue from a farmer who filmed her domestic turkeys taking dirt baths.
Bathing! The hens bathed in the gopher mounds. According to other wildlife articles I read, turkeys create baths in their territory that can be 14 inches in diameter and three to four inches deep. Those gopher mounds must have seemed like the wild turkey ideal of a Turkish bath. To see all those hens bathing in my yard!
And that is why I'm hunting turkeys with my camera this morning. So far, not a peep.
Back to the onions. In researching a connection between gophers and turkeys, I discovered that gophers favor tulips, potatoes and onions. Onions? They dislike anything aromatic like marigolds, spearmint or dog poop. I thought onions would drive them away, too.
|Makes Me Ponder BBQed Goose...|
Well, gophers, I hope you don't like turkey poop because they pooped all around the remaining onions.
That's natural balance for you!
Follow up: while hunting turkeys this morning, the Canada geese (Ma, Pa and two 'tweens) showed up to add further lawn fertilization.
Bring on the nitrogen!