Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Scrambled turkey eggs

Last week my brother was mowing his oats when he flushed a wild turkey. He stopped to investigate and discovered a nest with 13 eggs in it (turkeys nest on the ground). Wild turkeys are common sights in the area, but I've not heard anyone describe happening upon a nest.

Avoiding the nest, he mowed around it, leaving a good size swath of oats. He hoped the bird would return, and she did. I visited on Friday, and he took me down to the field to show me the location. At the edge of the stand, we could see a dark shape hunkered down over the nest, but we kept on driving so as not to disturb her.

The next day, he and my 10-year-old niece and I rode down on the golf cart with the intent to snap a long-distance photo. Sadly, what we found were pilfered and broken eggs scattered among the oat stubble. The work of any number of possible scavengers—dogs, raccoons, coyotes, foxes. My niece hung her head and said "I feel so bad for the mother turkey." Due to the circumstances, her nest was unduly exposed to predation. But it could have happened anyway, anywhere. That's nature.

I snapped this photo of the egg shells as well as a shot of the baled oat hay.

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