I wonder if the turkeys are going to come by today. Even though they’ve been coming by two, maybe three times a week for the last three months, I still get excited whenever I see them. I start talking in that tone of voice I reserve for kittens or puppies and can never just say the word “turkey” once. It has to be “hi turkey turkey turkey!” Yes, apparently being in the presence of poultry makes me act like a damn fool.
No one knows where these birds suddenly came from. All I know is that the week after I got back from my retreat at Spirit Rock, which also hosts a flock of turkeys, these turkeys showed up in the lot behind my house. Since where I live in no way resembles the peaceful, idyllic hills of Spirit Rock, I was so thrilled to at least have my own flock of turkeys. And to further add to the appeal of these wild creatures, the flock of a dozen or so also included some baby turkeys, which I later learned are called poults. They’ve grown up quickly, those poults, now I can barely distinguish them from the rest of the flock.
I’ve heard turkeys can become quite a nuisance in some neighborhoods. I can understand that, especially neighborhoods where a well-tended lush lawn is valued. But, that’s not the case here in Point Richmond. This older, hilly neighborhood does not have a lot of lawns for them to tear up though I’m not sure how they feel about other kinds of landscaping. They will always be welcome in the large hilly lot behind my house though. At one point an ambitious/greedy developer bought that lot and had plans for a large apartment complex. He got as far as building a huge concrete foundation and then ran out of money and then he was foreclosed upon. It’s the most perplexing structure. The boyfriend, who is a builder himself, is likewise baffled about what was going to built upon that unusual foundation. I like to call it the Stonehenge of Point Richmond. So, once again, that lot becomes open space, a perfect place for a flock of turkeys to hang out.
But, they’re not much for just hanging out, those turkeys. They are quite focused, constantly pecking and digging for food. To encourage them, the boyfriend scatters birdseed behind my house and it does appear these huge birds do like the same seed I feed to dainty little songbirds. I’ll see them for about a half an hour outside the back of my house then they move along. I’ve spotted them on the other side of town walking down the middle of the street as if they owned it. After sitting for a minute or two waiting for them to cross, I gave my horn a gentle tap to encourage them to scatter. Another neighbor a few blocks away said they wandered through a party she was having in backyard.
I think these turkeys were wise to choose our little community for their new home. Every year on Thanksgiving morning, there is the tradition of the Point Richmond Turkey Shoot. Fortunately, there are no guns involved, just bad poetry, our City Councilman’s goats and Wild Turkey whiskey. Perhaps this year we find some way to incorporate and honor and new neighbors into the annual ritual. That would be a nice way to officially welcome them. We’re friendly like that.