(cont.) “We watched from a distance, but it was hard to tell when a poult would reach her. Not wanting to affect the reunion we carefully, and quietly backed off. Nature was now leading the reunion…….”
The hardest thing to do was to walk away, but walk away we did…completely away….for about 45 minutes. Leaving the dogs in the house, I quietly walked out to check on the little wild family, hoping to find their absence. All was silent except the sound of the wind through the trees.
Here is the actual reunion…listen closely, you can hear some peeping, and at about :17 – :21 you can hear a faint call from mama turkey. The sounds in the background (besides the wind) are our neighbor’s Guinnea Hens.
Crouching down to make my profile as low as possible, I watched. There was absolutely no sign of mama turkey. Watching for movement within the grass was really a wasted effort as the wind kept the grass in constant flux. As I slowly approached the area where we had set the poults on their journey back to their matriarch, sadness bestowed my eyes. There lying in the grass was a little poult, right where we had set it free…it hadn’t followed mama turkey’s call. I wasn’t sure what to do…leave it in the grass or pick it up? My protective instinct won over, and I picked it up. It didn’t protest, and burrowed into the warmth of the pocket I had created within my shirt. This little one was tiny. Feeling that she needed to be warmed up, I quickly set up a small brooder with a heat lamp to warm her up.
About 2 hours later, around 7:30 p.m. I decided to take one more look and listen. We had a little over an hour left of light, if more babies missed the call, I wanted to find them. As I stopped and listened, my heart sunk as I heard a familiar peeping. Peep, peep, peep…three in succession…peep, peep, peep….it was calling for mama turkey. What I heard in return was not the adult’s call, but a return peep, peep, peep from a different direction. They were trying to find each other. It was getting cold, they needed each other for warmth…I decided it was time to help them…I didn’t believe they would make it through the night with snakes, racoons, skunks, owls, and who knows what else, out on the hunt as nighttime fell.
I tried following the peeoping…but everytime I made a move in that direction, it would stop…and then I would hear the other call leading me in another direction. I stopped and watched the grasses for any sign of movement different from the rhythmic dance caused by the wind. All of a sudden I saw a tiny poult head pop up out of the grass, stumbling unevenly. I quickly swooped in and gathered the little poult up out of the grass. The I listened….the seconded source of calling was coming from behind me.
Staying still, the third little poult showed itself in the same stumbling-about manner. The two siblings were reunited. Another 20 minutes of quietly watching and listening resulted in no sign of additional little turkeys. Walking back to the house to add these two little ones to the brooder, I worried that there were more orphaned poults. I went back two more times that evening and found no signs of additional babies. My attention now needed to be turned to helping the three in the brooder grow to the point of being released back into the wild. My daughter decided that little project belonged to her, and named them all Bernice.
To be Continued….tomorrow…find out about the challenges of supporting three wild turkey poults.
Hope you have a wonderful Memorial Day…thank you to all those current and past who have protected our great United States with their many, many sacrifices in military duty. My family and I are forever thankful and grateful for you! May God richly bless you, and your families!
See you back in the forest tomorrow…