This time of year, wildlife begins to take advantage of the limited human presence on the ranch. White-tailed deer start to graze on our lawns, claiming them as their fall pasture. A small family of moose has also moved back in, the pond up by the shop is their territory. Luckily we have not had too much bear activity this fall. Perhaps the most interesting animals taking over the ranch are the wild turkeys.
Last winter we had about forty wild turkeys in a couple different flocks, and it seems just about all, if not more, are back this year. They are fascinating to watch, and number more than all the other wildlife combined that you can see in a day on the ranch. In one of the flocks we have three white turkeys, which certainly stand out. Also, they have a habit of being scattered along the driveway almost every time we come into the ranch. Perhaps watching the turkeys fly is the most exciting thing to observe. I did not see them fly at all last fall while I was working up at the ranch, but I finally got the chance the other day. Of course I knew they could fly, since I saw them roosting fifty feet up the cottonwoods along the creek, but I had never witnessed it. You would be surprised how smoothly and naturally a turkey can fly. I expected a rather awkward flapping and short flight, but ten or so turkeys glided effortlessly in front of me as I surprised them along the road. I definitely had to do a double-take, and watching the turkeys fly certainly gave me some new appreciation for them. Maybe it is just their confidence and behavior, or their numbers, but the ranch might just be controlled by turkeys rather than people for the winter months.
We will definitely enjoy sharing the ranch with the wildlife for a few months. Look for some turkey photos on our Facebook page throughout the winter!
Peter Talpey – Assistant Manager