When I headed out for my early morning bike ride before the inferno kicked in, ( it is suppose to reach 113 today) I happened to spot four hen turkeys getting ready to jump over my back wall in search of food… Turkeys in Anza Borrego Desert State Park? Amazing! I have yet to see a tom- turkey, but the four hens today all looked the same age and are probably sisters.
Wild turkeys are omnivorous and will eat both animal and vegetable products. They forage as they roam and when moving along, one behind the other in single file, they peck at seeds and insects, looking up and all around in a constant search for danger and possible predators.
This is the first summer I have witnessed turkeys in the desert, I also saw two hens about a month ago along Henderson Canyon where I shoot all of my wildflower photographs. I wonder if there has been a big spike in their population growth due to ample rainfall and the lush vegetation that followed this spring? Neighboring Julian and Ramona, at much higher elevations, and up in the mountains, are known for wild turkeys, but in the desert? These four hens looked healthy and alert, and they were obviously enjoying the bright, early morning sunshine. It hadn’t warmed up yet, and birds were singing and insects buzzing. I left them alone as soon as I shot a few photographs, and they headed back out into the desert in a slow and meandering way, glancing back at me often in silent, calm, curiosity.
Joe Hutto in The Sun Magazine- May-2017, issue 497, gives a wonderful interview in which he shares his experience with living for a couple of years with mule deer and again with wild turkeys. He has the utmost respect for these beautiful creatures, and developed long lasting relationships with some of them. It was quite an honor to watch these four hens obviously thriving in the harshest of climates, and looking out for each other- as only good sisters will do.
This morning on my bike ride with Lara and Michael, we saw many cottontail bunnies, jackrabbits, roadrunners, a hawk soaking in a puddle, one lean coyote and common grackles. Hummingbirds are still braving it out, along with quail. It is amazing that anything can survive in the summer heat. It will be 117 on Friday and thunder strorms are expected on Sunday. We are going to try and pack up the RV and head to the beach for a few days. Hope we can find a camping site!