Weird turkey dance

IMG_7366 turkey fight crop_2

I have the good fortune of living in the suburbs and have a cow pasture that borders my back yard. As a result, in addition to the cows and calves, the burro and birds that I get to watch I get to scope out a lot of different animals. Over the course of the year, I have an opportunity to watch the wild turkeys that live in my cow pasture and the woods around it. I’m used to seeing them in the winter, when they leave their usual area and branch out into the yards of my neighborhood. It’s not unusual to see a flock of birds traipsing through my yard on their way to wherever they are headed. I love just to stand and watch them strut along.
I’m also seeing them in the late spring now. I guess they are hatching and nesting, but also the males are trying to establish their own dominance.
The other day I saw something that was unusual, or so I thought. I was leaving my car after running an errand early that morning when I glanced up toward the pasture. I saw two turkeys from the neck up, their necks intertwined and engaged in something that looked suspiciously like a dance. So, of course I had to find out what they were doing.
Had I interrupted a “special moment”? A fight? Two very awkward birds? I went to the internet and started looking. It turned out that the males of the species engage in some fighting behavior to establish dominance and the “weird turkey dance” that I saw was such a fight. I didn’t stick around to see who won, but chalked it up to another interesting experience in my observations so far this year.
Do you have wildlife living near you? Do you see them on a regular basis? What are your favorites?

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