Saturday, October 27, 2012

Flying Turkeys

2012-10-17 16.07.58.jpgI did not know turkeys could fly.

We have a flock of wild turkeys by my office complex. Initially we had Tom Turkey (as I named him) and his ladies - a bit of a harem. Then the harem had little ones. And the little ones now have grown up. The whole gathering has become a flock, as far as I can tell. They wander around our complex, with its trees and fauna and parking lot, finding stray seed for food. It is quite a sight.

The other day, I heard a gobble (not unusual) overhead (not usual). I looked around. Did one of the baby turkeys, now grown, find his way into a bush? Or a low lying tree?

Suddenly a large, bulky object ascended to the roof of the building in front of me. It was a turkey. A flying turkey!

This was no small feat. The building is about four stories high, given its peaked roof.  And he just fluffed his way to the top of it:

I kept thinking, "But turkeys don't fly." This was a consensus. Any one to whom I've told this turkey-on-the-roof story has said the same - and has recalled the "WKRP in Cincinnati" Thanksgiving episode - the "Turkey Drop" episode - when the radio station manager decided to throw turkeys from a plane as a turkey giveaway. Les Nessman (the one with all the band aids) did the play-by-play as turkeys were thrown from the plane. This is when we all learned: turkeys don't fly. It was a mess on the streets below.  ("Oh, they're plunging to the earth right in front of our eyes! ... Oh, the humanity!")  As the station manager said later: "As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly."

Apparently it is only domesticated turkeys that can't fly.

Because this wild turkey before me was strutting up and down the top of a four-story building's roof.

And he didn't get there by elevator.

And then he stood in silhouette. I presume he did that just for me.


And then it seemed as though it were over.  He had walked to the other side of the roof. I had to presume he was making his way slowly down, taloned step by taloned step... so of course I put away my phone and went to get into my car. And of course he was just waiting for me to put away my phone to eliminate my photo-taking opportunities. As it was then that he swooped down to the parking lot, flapping his wings, gently landing - like flying a hang glider, or with a parachute - and running forward a little, as his momentum carried him forward and towards the remainder of the flock.  I do not have a photograph of actual flight. I apologize. I should have known he would wait until my phone was in my purse.

And then here they are, the flock all together - or, as I have learned, the "rafter" - yes, a gathering of turkeys is known as a "rafter."

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