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Monday, January 24, 2011

False Spring (Blog Seventeen)

On a recent January morning just after sunrise I was out walking behind the house on Elaine's and my 38-acre spread.  The temperature was in the low 40s, and it was the first morning in quite some time when the wind was not howling and the temperature was above freezing.

I paused when I heard a mature hen turkey making the assembly call to her jakes and jennies.  The assembly call is a long series of yelps that flock hens often utter shortly before or after fly down so that they can call in their flock members.  The assembly yelp is not at all a "sexual" call.

But to a nearby group of gobblers, the warmer morning and the sound of a hen (even though the female notes had nothing to do with reproduction) were enough to cause their male hormones to awaken.  One male pronounced a gobble, then the next longbeard erupted with a double gobble, and then the two other toms, both jakes, began to gobble.

For some 20 minutes I delighted in listening to the lusty Lotharios, each attempting to out gobble the others and to attract the hen.  I heard no replies from the flock hen, which I assumed was busy doing what hens do this time of year, keep her young charges together and lead them to food.

Finally, the four gobblers ceased to proclaim that they were nature's gift to hens everywhere, and, I presume, began looking for food for themselves.  For just a brief period of time, April was here, but ultimately it was a false spring after all.

1 comment:

  1. Bruce, Just found your blog! I've always enjoyed your articles and look forward to following your dip into 'new media'! Thanks for sharing!

    Tight lines!