First, there was this.
Not too long after, there was this: a typical Colorado day, with a Stellar jay’s iridescent blue sky, no clouds, and winter, but an atypical temperature—55 degrees F. I sat with my morning cup of excellent Assamese tea, my back against the warm—in both color and temperature—terra cotta stucco of my home, on a homemade wooden bench given me by a good friend who had moved. I sat there basking in the sun, such a cliché. Basking is exactly what I was doing. That one word incorporates sponging up the sun’s warmth, a laziness not implying weariness at all, and an overflow of pleasure. My neighbors’ dogs all silent for once, under partially lowered eyelids I watched a pair of both Downy and Hairy woodpeckers, a few Evening grosbeaks, and the usual gang of juncos, White-breasted, Red-breasted, and Pygmy nuthatches, House and Cassin’s finches, and Mountain and Black-capped chickadees.
A few Evening Grosbeaks at one of my feeders.
Nearby was the incessant high-pitched clacking chatter of what has become for me the damn wild turkeys. When I first moved here 3 ½ years ago there were about 25. The other morning I counted 75 definitely and another, at least 5, streaming by to my neighbor who feeds them.
The ranchers shoot the coyotes, who, although they prefer rabbits and small rodents, will eat a turkey or two when they can catch them; the homeowners in the area feed the turkeys, the bobcats don’t come as often as more homes get built, and without predators and with easy food the turkeys multiply and multiply.
Twenty years ago there were very few if any turkeys in the area even though they are native here, so some were introduced. At some point a more natural balance will occur.
My objection to the sheer numbers is that they scratch up too much of the needed natural mulch under the piñons, so this summer when it’s dry, there won’t be enough moisture for their root system, and eventually they will die. Last fall, I actually fenced in with almost invisible deer fencing my most important garden area and the piñons right behind my house to keep the turkeys out. I can still watch turkey antics in my front yard and side meadows.
P.S. I know this is a blog about the world and travel, but there are many interesting aspects in our own backyards. Next week, more about Yemen, but this time women, so stay tuned!!