It’s for the birds…

I believe I’ve mentioned that our neighborhood has become quite a menagerie in recent years. We’ve spotted racoons, foxes, skunks, coyotes, various species of lizards, frogs, an occasional harmless snake, a flock of Guinea hens and even a pack of javelinas.

Last week, we added a new critter to the list of nature sightings in the neighborhood. A turkey was trotting through our front yard during an early morning jaunt on its way from somewhere to somewhere else. Luckily our dog, Chester, didn’t see it or he might have tried to bust through our front window to chase it.

Thankfully (pun intended) for this turkey, it didn’t show up in our neighborhood around Thanksgiving.

Two neighbors who saw the bird — both of whom said they had hunted turkeys — weighed in on whether it was wild or domestic. I got two differing opinions. A woman whose yard the bird had invaded said it was definitely domestic, while a guy across the street from me said it was definitely wild.

I’ve seen lots of wild turkeys in both the Gila and Lincoln National Forests, but never in the Organ Mountains east of here. If it was wild, it had to travel a very long way to get here.

There’s also a small farm about a half mile from our house near Mesilla which has been keeping several domestic turkeys in a pen next to a ditch road that we frequent on our walks. The birds there looked nothing like this skinny critter.

The bird eventually disappeared, but it was having difficulty deciding what direction to go. When I first spotted it, the turkey was pacing back and forth along the fence shown in the picture above. I drove home to get my camera and returned five minutes later, it was still pacing along the same fence, looking as confused as ever.

These are not smart birds, I concluded. I’m glad Benjamin Franklin didn’t succeed in having a turkey as our national bird.

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