We've been having a regular turkey hen visitor over the last few weeks. Did I mention that it's been in the mid 90's for the last week or so....so little or no outdoor activity. Sorry dogs!
Anyway, the turkey hen I'd been seeing over the last few weekshad always seemed to be by herself, so it was a surprize to me that after a while that the hen I interacted with yesterday had chicks. Not fledgings that can fly, but somewhat goodsized hatchlings. I know nothing about whether or not they can raise two clutches, but these little ones - I don't know if they can get large enough for the cold weather that will soon be with us.
I had been refilling the dog's water containter, a loud operation with the water gushing at full force out of our frost-free spigot, when I noticed that Jessie the border collie mix was looking at something in the rock wall on the North of the house, the site of the frost-free. Assuming she was looking at the usual suspects the chipmunks, I went on with refilling their water container. A second or less later Rowdy ran past me, as I gave him a gentle, arcing water shower, hoping to make up for the 95 degree plus temperatures we've had over the last several days. As he made his gallop past me I realized that there was something (at the time I assumed was a chipmunk) in his mouth, with a white butt and little pink feet dangling.
After filling the water container, I saw Ms turkey (the usual visitor?) on the upper edge of the rock wall, chirping and looking down into the corner spot next to the house, which is the location of the frost-free spigot. At the same time Jessie the border collie mix was on the ground watching the same corner area, but I assumed that as usual she was keeping an extremely sharp eye on the chipmunks who nest in the rocks. Since the hen had stayed close to the house, I went in to get Howard's camera and came out to get some shots. I did get some good shots of the very cooperative hen, but very shortly I heard cheeping and noticed some little shadows moving in the grass.
With a mental slap to the forehead I realized that while I was farting around, very likely Jessie had snagged the turkey chick with Rowdy making a fast steal and had headed down hill. CRAP!!! I did visually track Rowdy to a spot on the lower driveway and hurried down there to see what in fact he had. He was too cagey for me though, and with the grasshoppers jumping in all directions in the crispy brush, I wasn't able to find anything in the there. Canids do stash stuff for a later day, so who knows where he put this little soul.
Ms. Turkey was extremely patient with me (I'll never know why) while I put all of this scenario together. I took pictures, but retreated more than once during our interaction feeling I'd crossed a line, but for some reason she allowed me to get some good pictures of her, and her likely second brood. I thanked her more than once as I advanced and retreated for allowing me to do this, and made my mental apology to her for my ignorace/lack of vigilance. I wish I had noticed earlier that this hen was intent on looking out for her little family and/or the one chick left behind in the rocks.
We're not out of the hot weather yet, but it did rain last night and this a.m., with no local lightning. We have enough fires in the general area without starting new ones. I'm looking forward to some cooler nights for the next few days. It's almost always hot for Fair week, so it'll be no surprize if it's warmer next week.