Santa Rosa has a large population of wild turkeys that come down from the hills and roam neighborhoods. Many years ago they came into my garden and I was so excited – too bad I hadn’t yet velcroed a digital camera to my hand. So the other day I was taking a little back street to the grocery store and I saw a group of four turkeys in the middle of the street and I stopped so I could stare at them.
I texted my sister to tell her about the magnificent and hilarious birds in the street and commented that of course this was one of the rare times I didn’t have my camera with me. She told me to take a picture with my phone. That hadn’t occurred to me because my camera phone takes crap pics but I took some anyway because – I really wanted Tara to see what I was seeing. This one dude came really close to my scooter and strutted his stuff. He was either sizing me up as a potential threat or a potential meal. I hung out with them for about ten minutes talking to the dude and observing his huge hard beak and his menacing claws. Just when I thought he was preparing to come in for a taste of my ankle I decided it was time to split. I drove down the road laughing with glee and feeling a little breathless the way you do when your lungs fill with excitement instead of air.
They totally made my day.
My sister said they made her day too.
Now I take this little backwater road every time I go in this direction in hopes of seeing the turkeys again. Yesterday afternoon I was cruising through and thought “That was it. I’ll never see them again.” and I turned a corner just in time to see three turkeys chasing a man down the street. The man was pretty unimpressed with the 30 lb dinosaurs trotting after him.
It’s no confession to say I love birds because everyone knows it by now. I love hanging out with birds. There are no birds I don’t like. Birds are weird and wonderful creatures. Many of you see a turkey and automatically think “Dinner!” or “What stupid birds!” but when I see them I see this incredible creature whose ancestors predate ours by a few million years. Maybe you don’t have to respect that, but I do.
I love the noise turkeys make. It makes me so happy to hang out and chat with them. They are trying to impress me with their struts and I just want to get closer and walk with them all day.
These guys are BIG. If you’re only used to seeing them plucked and defrosting on your counter or roasting up in your oven then you have no idea. If you had to fight these birds hand to hand I’m putting my money on them to do you some pretty major damage. Humans with weapons and tools have an unfair advantage and makes them feel superior. Sure, you can dispatch a turkey super fast with a shot gun. A little less fast with an arrow. It would take a very strong and skilled person to kill one with their bare hands.
I think that every person who eats a turkey should have to catch and kill one with their bare hands. Not turkeys raised on a farm but a wild one You want to eat turkey I think you should have to fight a wild one before you get that privilege. Or – everyone who eats turkeys could give them a nod of honest respect before cutting into them. Thanking, not god, but the turkey itself for dying to fill their bellies.
But I feel that way about eating any animals. Humans are only as tough as the weapons they carry. Humans without guns are pretty pathetic. This explains a lot about the state of the world. The balance of all of nature would be better if humans had never invented firearms.
I still don’t know if these guys want to eat me or fight me. I think next time I see them I’m going to actually park my scooter and get off of it and stand around with the birds and see what they do.
These guys are not afraid. They come within pecking distance of me.
Such gorgeous feathers!
Every time I see these guys I feel like it’s such a gift that they’re still around. Such a gift that wild turkeys still exist in spite of humans. Don’t anyone tell me how dumb turkeys are or I will have to tell you how dumb humans are. Worth isn’t all about measurable intelligence which humans can only measure against what they interpret as intelligence which is a pretty limited yardstick. Us humans are destroying our own environment at an alarming rate, destroying our food sources and polluting our water with careless overpopulation and a dumb-ass belief that nothing can stop us because we’re just that rad.
All I’m saying is – give these birds the respect they’re due.
Because they’re just that rad.
P.S. I just put the first recipe post up on The Post Apocalyptic Kitchen – check it out!