Monday, May 28, 2012

Beware of Lowing Flying Birds

            I inherited a lead foot from my mom.  For years I had a terrible time remembering to let up on the gas pedal, and, like most young people, I had to learn the hard way.  Fortunately, I did not get an excessive number of speeding tickets or hurt anyone else, but I did collide with a low flying pheasant on more than one occasion.  Frankly, the speeding ticket would have been less expensive.

            It took only two such collisions involving two new and expensive headlights and the casings around them to convince me that 55 mph on Old Forty was plenty fast.  At 55 mph, I not only see oncoming pheasants, but I can anticipate deer movement better.  As a result, I have not had another wildlife/car wreck for more than a decade.

            In both those cases, those pheasants flew right in front of me essentially asking for what happens when something hurls itself in front of a speeding automobile.  As I said, I changed my ways, and the pheasant population has gone up accordingly.  It had been so long since I even scared a bird, I had not thought about these gruesome incidents.

            During Thanksgiving week, though, a turkey attack reminded me.  Only this time the situation occurred in reverse.  As I drove slowly out of the drive trying to enjoy the early morning sun, I heard a strange phuttering from behind the car. 

            I looked around and could not place it until I began edging forward again, and three low flying turkeys coming from behind dive-bombed my Explorer like kamikaze pilots.

 Heading east on a special turkey mission, they must have traveled from the creek behind the house.  Startled by the commotion of three heavy bodied birds lumbering directly over my car, I stopped the barely moving vehicle and watched as the lead bird came from the rear, right over the rack on my Ford.  He dipped low right in front of the windshield and nearly touched the bug shield in front of the car.  The other two played it safe and maintained more height, but they looked like big-bellied WW II bombers zipping over. 

            Though I often see turkeys strutting about, scratching for goodies and occasionally rising to roost, I have not seen them fly quite like I did that day.  Once they buzzed me, they stayed on pattern, barely flying above two barbwire fences and a patch of weeds until they reached the bottomland along the creek. 

            Intrigued, I watched them for a while, enjoying the luxury of a little extra  free time in my day.  I thought perhaps something (like a coyote or bobcat) alarmed them.  But once down among the weeds and trees, they resumed typical turkey behavior, strutting, scratching, and pecking. 

            I guess they had a mission, and I happened to get in their way.  I cannot think of anything else that explains the strafing run unless they knew the date.  It happened to be the day before Thanksgiving, and they may have been doing a little premature celebrating that they were not among turkeys defrosting in refrigerators in the neighborhood. 

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