Letter from Birdland: Beware of the terrible ...turkey?

Letter from Birdland: Beware of the terrible ...turkey?

It's a gray day in Birdland, but the chickens were still happy to be let out of the coop after being stuck inside for so many bitter cold days. The three aged hens ran (yes, ran!) into the yard, necks outstretched, their fluffy bodies rocking to and fro with each step.

Time's a wasting. They were eager to begin their day of scratching and clucking around in the yard. The cold snap had turned the grass gray, but the new warmth had already urged tufts of green that they could see underneath, tasty morsels after the long weeks of being cooped up.

Rosabell, our turkey hen, likes to get out, too, but she is so lovelorn that she spends most of her days in the hedge, peeping her gentle song, until we come out, when she follows us around to kneel before us, waiting for a pat on her soft back.

Sometimes she hides other places, too. We figure she is just shy. We try to discourage the Commander from coming out of the coop, but sometimes our tom turkey gets over the barrier I put in the doorway, and I have to lead him back inside in the evenings, pausing every few minutes to let him rest before he can continue his cockeyed lumbering stride.

Today it was warm enough for outside jobs, and Michael had the car up on blocks to work on the exhaust system. Something is always breaking around here, and my husband and I are always fixing stuff.

I was inside reading about how to make kombucha, my new addiction. It was expensive to buy, and my research told me that it was easy to make. Michael came in, just a little flustered. "There's something in the garbage bin," he said. "I think it might be a rat." Michael gets nervous around vermin and snakes and spiders and such.

"It's probably just a squirrel. I'll save you. Get me a broom." My heroic plan was to open the lid and bang on the side until the squirrel jumped out, which I did, stepping back each time to avoid getting a face full of panicked rodent.

Michael was behind me, holding up the rear, ready to retreat if necessary. I banged again, but — nothing. I stood on tiptoes to peep over the edge but couldn't see any activity. "I don't see anything," I told Michael.

Just then we heard another scurry, and I thought I saw a gentle undulation in the shadows between the wall and the garbage bin. The motion didn't match the sound of the nervous scratching. It looked more like a dark piece of cloth blowing in a slow breeze.

I stared into the dark and began to detect a pattern in the shape. I strained to make my eyes focus into the depth of the gloom while the design began to take form in the shadows — irregular white brush strokes on black.

Michael and I were quiet for two heartbeats, and then I knew what it was: Rosie's tail. Our turkey hen had gotten herself wedged into the space between the garbage bin and the wall. She couldn't back up, and the scurrying was probably her attempts to turn around, but there was no wiggle room. We laughed and pulled the bin out from the wall and released her.

"It's a good thing you heard her," I told Michael. "Otherwise we might have assumed that a coyote carried her away. We wouldn't find her until garbage day, and by then it might have been too late. I think it would take a wolf to carry away a turkey that big."

I laughed and started back to my kombucha, but Michael stopped me.

"You're not going to, um ...."

I waited.

"I mean, this isn't going to end up in the newspaper, is it?"

"Oh, don't you worry about that." And I went inside to make a strong tea for my kombucha.

Seek beauty; find peace; blessed be.

Mary Lucille Hays lives in Birdland near White Heath. She is interested discovering what is hiding in plain sight. You can follow Birdland on Instagram (@BirdlandLetters) and Twitter (@BirdlandLetters). Mary can be reached at letterfrombirdland@gmail.com or via snail mail care of this newspaper.

Sections (1):Living
Topics (2):Environment, Pets