Spring is trying really hard to come to the ranch right now, and one of the signs it might be succeeding is the turkeys in strut. This time last year I had a shiny new camera and a 200mm zoom lens and a powerful determination to get an awesome turkey strut photo.
Dad used to take me to call up turkeys when I was little, and even as an adult I’m still amazed at their springtime transformation. They go from being this drab funny looking bird with long legs to a picture-perfect ball of fluffed feathers, fan tail, and glistening color – all to impress the ladies, of course. And the gobbling! Always makes me think of spring.
Anyway – back to last year. Mr. HH tried his hardest to put me in a position to get good photos, but I quickly learned that turkeys are tricky birds. They always heard us, or saw us, or smelled us…or were just plain out of reach. I can’t count the number of times we got up early, put on head-to-toe camo, and crawled around in ditches on our stomachs only to come up with mediocre results from too far away. In fact, this was the best I could get…and I’m pretty sure as soon as I snapped it, these guys were headed over the hill.
So, here it is almost spring turkey season again. And the last thing I could possibly do in my current state is crawl around in the pasture on my stomach with my camera tracking those darn turkeys. I had no hopes for those turkey photos this year. My main physical activity is lifting my pregnant self off of the couch and to the bathroom and back.
Which is exactly what I was doing last weekend at the ranch house, when I heard that familiar gobbling sound. Oh, did I mention it was coming from my kitchen?
Two big tom turkeys were gobbling at their own reflection in my patio door. And not only were they beautiful with the sun shining on those feathers, but they had absolutely no interest in leaving any time soon. I was no more than 5 feet from them, and yet I got to take a video, take pictures with my new portrait lens, and switch to a zoom lens for some real close ups. It was as if they had scheduled a photo session and were posing for me!
The sad thing was that there was no one home but me to see this little front-porch nature show, nor does anyone believe me about how long they hung around. We have turkeys pass through the yard all the time, but I felt pretty lucky for the half-hour I got to spend with these guys. And the best part? No belly-crawling required!