As some readers of this blog know I like to take pictures, having taken pictures for the past twenty years or so. Just being in the natural world and seeing animals in the wild is really incredible, especially when one lives in a city like I do.
Last Sunday morning I was nearly attacked by a turkey as it literally flew at me with a seemingly malevolent intent. So yes, I took poetic license in describing the encounter as an attack. Let’s just say that had I been in the flight path of that turkey I would probably suffer from a concussion by now.
I was not alone in these woods as another photographer was with me, and it was him who provoked this sudden departure of the bird. He told me that he had seen a bird high up in a tree and that he wanted to take a picture. No doubt that the turkey was astonished at this biped walking towards it and the strange apparatus that was being aimed in its direction. Maybe the bird had a memory of being shot by a hunter in the past and thus reacted strongly. I admit that I am speculating here, not knowing if turkeys have a memory, but I am pretty sure that they can experience fear and must use this as a defence mechanism.
So here I was, by the side of an open trail in a small wooded area, when all of a sudden I hear a whoosh coming from behind me and travelling towards me. I turned around and saw a gigantic bird with its wings at its maximum width gliding towards me. I just had the time to step aside as it landed a few feet in front. I admit that at first I thought that it was a duck, but when I saw how big it was I knew that it was not a duck but a turkey, minus the flap of skin that hangs below the face. It was probably a male.
Imagine my astonishment at this nightmarish vision. It must have weighed at least 40 pounds. It did not land quite well so that I could see that one of its legs had been slightly hurt, but this did not stop the bird from beginning to peck at the ground, picking up bits of food.
I immediately snapped out of my self-induced coma and began shooting pictures, and no doubt that the bird was thankful that they were not bullets. It looked at me strangely, cocking its head at strange angles and eying me warily. I had not moved much from where I had been at the beginning but now decided to move in its direction. I was slightly fearful as I had seen its feet and legs and thought that they could probably inflict some pain to me if I got too close to it. Visions of the bird slashing my stomach and spilling my guts swirled in my mind, no doubt due to having seen one too many sci-fi movie of that kind.
There was no light in the area but I still took pictures, amazed at my good luck. The other photographer had the good sense of staying behind me and was following me. No doubt he probably thought that if the bird attacked me he could take a great picture; me on the ground having my eyes pecked out and my guts in my hands, begging for help or a swift final mercy kick to the head. Visions of that swirled in my head as well.
Eventually the bird walked out of the wooded area and was still seen walking slowly in an area that looked more like the great plains with its flat surface. Other photographers saw the bird and even one told me that the bird crossed the main road separating the garden area from buildings. No doubt that if foxes or coyotes had seen it that would have made a great dinner for them. Visions of that swirled in my head as well. I think that I had too many visions that day. Perhaps after all the turkey did sideswiped me as it landed…..