Thursday, September 23, 2010

Wild Turkeys at Schlitz Audubon Nature Center

I made a visit to the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center (SANC) yesterday afternoon. It's north of Milwaukee, on Lake Michigan. While I'm a member, I'd never been there before. Nice place. Nice trails. Very natural and wild looking beachfront.

While I was walking a trail back from the beach I encountered a small flock of four Wild Turkeys! First turkeys I've seen anywhere since June 18 (in southern Indiana). Too bad I can't count them as BIGBY birds (I drove there).

Wild Turkeys are special birds to me. A small flock of turkeys lived in my neighborhood in Urbana, IL, from 2005-2007. I spent many, many hours observing them. They seemed to accept me as a part of the flock, even though they could be aggressive towards others.

Anyway, I was following around the SANC turkeys yesterday trying to get close enough for some cell phone photos. You have to get REALLY close to turkeys to take cell phone photos. I started making the soothing sounds I used to make with my old neighborhood turkeys, and got really close to the birds...maybe 15 feet away. They also seemed really curious about the beeping sounds my phone made as I took photos. I think this curiosity also helped me to get so close.

At one point, when I was 15 feet away and trying to get closer, one of the turkeys gave me a funny look. I thought "Oh-oh. I've pushed my luck and he's going to come after me." I backed up about ten feet and he resumed foraging.

I know what it's like to be chased by turkeys. A couple of my old neighborhood turkeys came after me once, the only time they'd been aggressive towards me. I took photos while the chase was on, if anyone's interested:

Here are the photos, with my comments:

And here's a photo slide show - larger photos, but without my commentary:

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