At this time each spring most people opine about the first crocuses, daffodils beginning to bloom and the emergence of tulips and maybe even a few morel mushrooms.
But for my husband and I, the month of April brings an abundance of wild turkeys back down into our yard after the birds have spent a long winter up on the hill behind our house. This past winter especially, large numbers of turkeys weathered the ultra long winter in the shelter of cedar trees eating berries and seeds, waiting for the snow to melt so they could again dine lavishly on acorns that litter the lawn of our home.
While I've enjoyed the strut and parade of several wild turkeys as I traveled to work in recent weeks, yesterday, I took a look out the kitchen window as I readied my early morning cup of joe.
There, in the pasture at the edge of our lawn, were not one, not three, but FIVE tom turkeys all in active strut, trying to impress a group of nine ladies. Perhaps because the courtship actually began a few weeks ago, the hens didn't seem all that interested in the male puffing, spitting, gobbling and spreading of tail feathers and dragging of their wings.
I was impressed, however.
Having resided in rural Fayette County most of my life, and living in Wadena's rustic, wooded area the last 22 years, the beauty of this part of Northeast Iowa is something we don't take for granted. Every day offers something beautiful, whether it's a bluebird perched on a telephone wire, or just the spring peeper frogs serenading us around the pond every night from early March through mid-summer.
Listening to the gobble of tom turkeys along the river as I enjoy a morning jog through the Volga River Recreation Area is perhaps one of the best ways I can start the day. And getting the opportunity to observe the wild turkey's annual mating ritual – particularly of a group as large as this one, is just the icing on the cake.
*Image courtesy Flickr creative commons.