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The Shawnee News-Star
  • Watching wildlife

  • It was a little after 6 yesterday morning when I went outside to start the day.
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  • It was a little after 6 yesterday morning when I went outside to start the day.
    I’d stayed up way past my normal bedtime Friday night to watch the Thunder game and my first cup of morning caffeine was just kicking – hey! What’s my bronze turkey doing out of the pen and strutting underneath a tree?
    It was then that I remembered: I don’t have bronze turkeys. This was a wild tom, no doubt a young fella striking out in search of fame, fortune and a flock he could call his own.
    He was also striking out with the ladies. The hens paid about as much attention to him as Congress does to the national debt.
    He finally gave up and walked off toward the creek. The Rodney Dangerfield of the turkey world.
    I’m often amazed at the number of wild things I see out here in North Rock Creek. Wild turkeys, coyotes, the ubiquitous rabbits and squirrels.
    Two years ago, I saw five roadrunners at one time. It was during the stretch of 113-degree weather and they were trying to get into the chicken pen, no doubt to have a turn at the waterer.
    Last year I offed two pygmy rattlers and dispatched a couple more the year before that.
    And, although it might not qualify as a wildlife encounter in the purest sense, I almost took a hummingbird in the face the other morning. It’s the only known downside to wearing Hawaiian shirts.
    I’ve had swarms of bees, several skunks and lots of deer, including the five who walked through the back yard last week.
    My favorite was Wednesday when I heard a bobwhite quail whistling from across the fence. Being a Quail Whisperer, I whistled back and we had a nice chat.
    It’s my observation that people like me – who buy a few acres out of town and build houses and turkey pens and gardens – have evicted bobwhites from their natural habitat.
    I enjoy their whistles and the way your heart pounds when you accidentally flush a covey.
    Here’s hoping this one moves the family into the neighborhood and sticks around.
    ———
    Brian Blansett is publisher of The Shawnee News-Star.

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