Finny and the rest of the flock of geese were enjoying themselves at the edge of the garden under a huge pine tree. Suddenly, a flock of at least 24 full-grown turkeys appeared from the woods.

But not to worry.

It seems that the two species have no quarrel with each other.

Finny, as the leader of the gang, stood up, flapped his beautiful gray and white wings and sat back down. He was signaling that all was all right. The rest of the flock just continued their relaxation.

I have been watching the turkeys for several months. When I first spied them, there were two hens leading about 24 poults, or baby turkeys, around the garden, the lawn or into the woods.

Over the months, the combination of forest and field insects and the apples that fell from our old Baldwin and Wealthy trees provided lots of food for the growing poults. And now, each “baby” is as large as the mothers.

I really like watching the turkeys. They look a little bit like dinosaurs and walk like some of those creatures. They aren’t a particularly beautiful bird, but they do have a certain majesty.

They didn’t eat the vegetables that grew in the garden all summer. Occasionally, the only damage they might cause was the result of a dust bath. Whatever they were flapping around on might get crushed under their weight.

So Finny and the flock sat on the remaining green grass, every so often getting up to check out a possible remaining dandelion leaf or cluster of clover.

Meanwhile, the turkeys fanned out onto the lawn, harvesting insects, looking for bugs that may be buried in piles of leaves, and finally, after 15 minutes or so, disappearing back into the woods.

Finny, with his brother Shamus, led the rest of the flock back to the pen where they knew lots of goodies were waiting. They know that whenever I appear, I bring something good to eat with me — maybe green celery stalks, lettuce, cabbage or loaves of stale bread. If they have to, they will eat the cracked corn and layer pellets I always place in their food dish.

While Finny and the geese care little about the wild turkeys, they do care a lot about Silas and Molly.

Whenever they pass by the pen housing my two Pekin ducks, they stop and squawk, sometimes pushing their beautiful heads into Silas and Molly’s pen.

I’m not sure why my geese dislike the ducks so much, but one thing’s for sure — I’ll not try to blend the two groups of waterfowl into one pen anytime soon.

Meanwhile, Plum Blossom is trying harder and harder to become my favorite goose. She often races Finny to the front of the pen to get to me first. Finny doesn’t seem to mind too much. I’m thinking Plum Blossom may become his mate during the mating season in the spring.

And Plum Blossom is not shy about letting me know what she wants. She’ll come right up to me and insist that I hand-feed her some celery, bread or other snack. I have to say of the four female geese, she is the most beautiful, with ultra-smooth, perfectly formed white feathers, bright blue eyes and a very insistent attitude.

I expect to see Finny and his flock and the 24 or so wild turkeys around the house throughout the winter.

And to be very sure, neither feathered creature will become the centerpiece for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.

Eileen M. Adams has been raising geese, and an occasional duck, for about 10 years. She may be reached at [email protected]


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