Unexpected Winter Visitors

by Curt Kovener     

When I spend time at the wilderness in the winter, I enjoy feeding the birds. Many of you probably do as well at your home. Whether it is the barren brown and grays of the woods or the white winter beauty of snow covered landscape, the birds seem to come from miles around to dine on the sunflower seed & suet buffet.

Chickadees, nuthatches, tufted titmouse, all clamor on the two hanging seed feeders. Downy woodpeckers and their larger cousin the hairy woodpecker cling to the suet feeder breaking loose seed and the beef fat that holds the cake all together.

Juncos, charcoal dark little ground feeding birds, cardinals, and morning doves clean up the spillage on the ground by the feeders.

Occasionally fox squirrels, in their grey winter coats, feed on the ground but often get bold and climb the pole to gorge at the wire feeder.

A rap on the window sends them on their way so the birds can come back to entertain me.

One recent morning, after the snow melted away and before the rains came, I was half heartedly observing the feeder while occupied with other work.

But I did a double take when I witnessed the two new feathered visitors to the bird feeder in the front yard. Two young hen turkeys pecked and scratched their way around the dropped seeds left by the other critters.

I grabbed my camera and clicked away while observing the two much larger than the usual feathered visitors to my feeder.

It is rare for skittish wild turkeys to come so close to the house but with the recent snow cover hiding their food source, they were using the now barren ground to their advantage to fill their hungry craws.

While the radio played in the front room and Charley snored on the couch, the turkeys explored nearly every bit of the yard looking to seed, grain or anything that might look edible.

Then, almost as if there was a silent signal, they slowly left the yard making their way down the lane, down the valley, and disappeared into the wooded wilderness.

I filled up the feeders in anticipation of their hoped for next entertaining visit.