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Count’em!

Wild Turkey, Redwood Regional Park

At a time when the earth is experiencing another mass extinction in its history, and the first of these to be caused by human beings, it is good to be reminded of positive things. As with Mono Lake, sometimes we humans can “back up and do the right thing.”

That is why I was astounded yesterday to be reminded again of an American conservation success story.

My motorcycle had not left its garage in at least a month. I had spent the last two weeks in preparation for a major event. Both of us needed the ride. It was a little before sunset, and the air was comfortable and unseasonably cool.

As I finished a backward “S” curve on Patterson Pass Road (just west of the route of the Juan Bautista de Anza Trail), I had to slow the bike and stop for a LARGE group of wild turkeys in the middle of the road! I wrote about wild turkeys awhile ago, that time with regard to a very urban sighting of a single bird. This time, although the location was rural, there was a whole flock. I checked my mirrors to be sure that no drivers were approaching (have you ever seen a “we brake for motorcycles” bumper sticker?). :-( The birds were not frightened because a helmeted man on a motorcycle does not look like a man (sorry, fellas! :-) ) at least not to wild animals.

So I decided to count them…

There were over 30 birds, in and on both sides of the two-lane road. I could not get an exact count, because there appeared to be smaller birds in the tall grasses on my right. I looked around to understand why the birds were in that particular place. Turkeys need a nearby source of good freshwater, and there was a stream on the left.

As the wild turkeys slowly parted to either side of the road, I slowly moved the bike forward, thinking about the successful reintroduction of wild turkeys across this country by the human species that had once so severely reduced their numbers.

-Bill at Cheshire Cat Photo™

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