December 01, 2013

Turkeys in the Snow

M. and I came home Thanksgiving Day to find about eight inches of crusted snow on the ground, the remains of a storm from three days earlier.  These photos were taken Saturday the 29th, when eight wild turkeys showed up just in time for a Project Feeder Watch count day. The turkeys were scuffling around under the bird feeders looking for sunflower seeds that the jays had pushed out.

It's tough being a ground-feeding bird in snowy weather, which is why they usually for south-facing slopes and other places that melt out early.  The monsoon rains this summer brought on a good crop of native grass seed, which they will eat when it is exposed — and I have mixed feelings about that. Sure, turkeys got to eat, but I wanted to see some of that blue grama etc. germinate and fill in the bare places.

Sure, my opinion matters a lot to the turkeys!

Meanwhile, the snow. The first county road we take on the way home was fairly clear, but the second was icy. At the right moment, I popped the Jeep into 4WD and gunned it for the first little hill in our unplowed driveway, making the first turn and slewing in S-curves through its dips and rises (must get new tires!) up to the house.

Wind and freeze-thaw cycles had made the snow compact and granular, hard to shovel and too chunky for my big snow-blower. More sunny days and cold nights have turned the tire tracks into ice ribbons. If more snow falls soon on top of them, the result won't be pleasant.

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