My husband calls them The Horde. They are the collection of wild turkeys that cruise the area searching for food. They seem to live in loose groups and there’s no shortage of them here in eastern Washington.
We often wake up in the morning to the sounds of hungry fowl outside our windows. They surround the RV (have you seen the Alfred Hitchcock movie The Birds?) making their expectations plain. It’s breakfast time.
My husband knows his job: He roles out of bed, throws on some clothes, grabs the thirty-pound bag of food with the cup and steps outside to feed “his” flock. They chitter, pip, pop, peep and sometimes gobble loudly in unison while they skirmish over the offerings.
They nip at each other, driving away their competitors for every bit of seed. Some are scraggly, some look a little sick and it makes me sad. Nature is nature though. I throw food to the ones who look like they need it the most. The rest look pretty healthy aside from the wind-tunnel look.
We started feeding them a couple of months ago. When we pull into our driveway they make a bee-line to our RV. Most are hens but the males are standing out this time of year.
It’s the beginning of the mating season and the Toms are dressing up in full window display. To make themselves look most presentable to the females, they “fluff up” with an audible swish of their feathers. Their heads flush with color and somehow they manage to cause their plumage to stand upright.
They angle their tale swag from side to side, as if tuning in a radar array. They tuck their chins in and glide across the ground as if on wheels. Or they stand stock still while the hens ignore them. Somehow, despite the rejection, little hordes inevitably appear in the following weeks. We call them gobblets.