A Turkey — with Flowers

My floodplain's newest resident

My floodplain’s newest visitor

For the last two days, a male turkey — Tom to his friends — has spent his days patrolling our floodplain for savory morsels. He must be finding plenty, judging by his size. Tom is not a petite bird.

Note the "beard" dangling from the base of his neck.

Note the “beard” dangling from the base of his neck.

I apologize for the fuzzy photos. I took these this afternoon when I tested Tom’s tolerance by stepping quietly out onto my back deck to take these candids. He never even looked my way, but I was trying to stay in the shadows and be very quiet.

He hunches like this most of the time. I think perhaps he's near-sighted.

He hunches like this most of the time. I think perhaps he’s near-sighted.

My trusty reference books tell me that wild turkeys in my area are usually nesting about now. The females do all the egg-sitting on nests they build right on the ground. During that time, the males keep away, probably to prevent predators from having too easy a time finding the nest. We figure Tom here has been banished by his harem until the chicks are able to move about on their own.

I'm hoping he's going to leave me a few gorgeous feathers, but I haven't found any so far.

I’m hoping he’s going to leave me a few gorgeous feathers, but I haven’t found any so far.

Look at the size of that foot! I suspect his nest-sitting harem is not too far away. I hope he’ll bring wives and chicks to forage on the floodplain when they’re ready. Of course, it’s getting trickier to take these long shots, now that the plants are leafing out with enthusiasm.

Flowers are busting out all over too. Here are just a few of the plants I found blooming today.

Red Buckeye. My 20-foot tall tree is covered in fully-open flower clusters, which probably explains why the hummingbirds are ignoring my feeder now.

Red Buckeye. My 20-foot tall tree is covered in fully-open flower clusters, which probably explains why the hummingbirds are ignoring my feeder now.

A deciduous azalea hybrid just beginning to open. Very fragrant!

A deciduous azalea hybrid just beginning to open. Very fragrant!

A Rhododendron austrinum hybrid with a sweet fragrance you can smell half an acre away.

A Rhododendron austrinum hybrid with a sweet fragrance you can smell half an acre away.

Cinnamon ferns

Cinnamon ferns

Jack-in-the-Pulpits

Jack-in-the-Pulpits

Solomon's Seal

Solomon’s Seal

A 25-foot-tall Halesia diptera in full, stunning bloom.

A 25-foot-tall Halesia diptera in full, stunning bloom.

A close-up look at the Halesia diptera flowers.

A close-up look at the Halesia diptera flowers.

Trillium

Trillium

Wood hyacinths with a volunteer Columbine.

Wood hyacinths with a volunteer Columbine.

This is just a sample of what’s blooming right now. You really can’t beat my area this time of year for flower power.

But it’s not everyday a Tom turkey joins the party. He’s an example of why Wonder Spouse and I have worked so hard to enhance the native microenvironments on our five acres. We never know who might stop by for dinner.

Happy Spring, y’all.

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