We have a long driveway. It winds its way up a hill to where we decided to build the house. Winter snow allows you to see who has passed along as they leave their footprints in the snow. Yesterday there were turkey feathers all over the road and fox tracks in the snow. What drama unfolded the night before?
A couple of things I have learned living close to the natural cycle. First, most wildlife are as active at night as during the day. Deer don’t set an alarm for sunrise and go to bed. Their night schedule is pretty much the same as their day time activity. Browse, rest under a pine thicket, browse some more and keep an eye out for that mountain lion. Night or day its pretty much the same.
Wild turkeys are a different story. I never gave much thought to where turkeys spend the night. It was simply not a subject of concern back in the Bronx. I was surprised to learn that wild turkeys spend the night ‘roosting’ in the branches of big trees. Its kind of odd to watch butterball fly up into the branches and wiggle himself comfortable for the night. Big blobs, turkeys, balancing themselves on narrow branches safe, or at least safer, from those who wander the night browsing for not for grass but for turkey.
Back to the feathers. I imagine either just before dark or early in the morning our resident fox met one of our resident turkeys. Feathers all over the snow. Turkey tracks, as if the thing danced wildly in the road, were spread all over. There was even an imprint on the side of the road where his big wingspan brushed the new snow.
I didn’t see a carcass but I figured it must be there somewhere. For a while I felt sorry for the bird. Only a short while. If the bird survives what happens to the fox? We’ve had this fox hanging around the property since at least last summer. Beautiful animal. Of course, he isn’t a vegetarian.
Daily we also watch a family of deer, at least that’s what I’ve labeled them, who live on the property. The deer are safe from the fox but there’s bigger predators out there. For a mountain lion to survive and have cute little cat cubs it has to kill a deer a week. That’s fifty-two every year.
The reality of nature is that big fish eat little fish. Its messy, but very efficient. Most of us live lives separate and apart from the natural cycle. The food we eat is prepared and packaged. It’s clean and allows us to forget the reality that it used to breathe or, for the vegetarians out there, was grown in a field that was the result of cutting down a forest.
We all know about the natural cycle but its impressive to see it play out. By the way, I saw the turkey licking its wounds under a pine tree. How did it get away? I don’t know. More mysteries.