Turkeys in the Fog
In large gobbling flocks, wild turkeys strut unconcerned through the hills of Humboldt. Some of them taunt our dog by gawking at her from the ridges on either side of the house. They know no fear. Like the counter culture hippies who moved here in the early seventies, the birds are not native to Northern California. Turkeys, like the white settlers of the coastal region, arrived in the 1800’s. In the early 1900’s large turkey farms dotted the landscape of the southern part of the county. Huge flocks ambled before farmers all the way to Humboldt Bay where they were shipped out to San Francisco.
A few of those birds escaped and created wild flocks but it wasn’t until the last 35 years the turkeys have become part of the landscape of Southern Humboldt County. In Salmon Creek especially, they’ve flourished. Introduced in the seventies by hunters, they aren’t pursued by the current land owners so they proliferate. Last year, one hen chose to nest near my veggie garden. Nearly invisible in her brown camouflage, we didn’t notice her until I turned on the sprinkler the first time and the resulting spray caused her to gather her skirts and run squawking in terror. With a little care on our part, she returned. Within weeks we watched baby turkeys bumbling around.
Dian Fossey may have searched Africa hoping for glimpses of Gorillas in the Mist and I would love to see them, too, but thankfully I live where wildlife, native or not, is abundant–Turkeys in the Fog please my heart and ease my soul when I gather the energy to traverse the long curvy roads into town.