More Odd Turkey Behavior, Fire & Ice Festival, McCaysville Water Issues

We’re having a warm, rainy weekend. It’s been very beautiful, with shifting mists and fog on the ridges. Most of the rain has been a gentle spring rain, with occasional periods of heavy rain. The grass in the meadows looks like it is greening up. If it isn’t, it won’t be long. Cutcane Creek is high, but still in its banks.

About 10:30 yesterday, during a break in the rain, three male turkeys came down the driveway, apparently feeding on seeds. One was quite large and apparently older, and the other two were smaller and younger looking, although all three had four or five inch beards. So far, this made sense, because in the winter before the rut starts, the turkey are in same-sex flocks. It was a little concerning that this particular flock was so small, because I’m used to seeing a dozen or more at a time. It made me wonder whether the coyote are taking a heavy toll on the local flocks.

They went around out of view around the other side of my truck, and when they reappeared, I was astonished to see that the big one was strutting. He had blown himself up as they do, and his caruncles were showing a shockingly bright red. I have heard of bearded females, but it seemed unlikely that this old boy had found two of them. As we continued to watch, the big one started to act a little aggressively to the other two, stepping toward them and giving them a few pecks. They seemed completely disinterested, and simply stepped away from him. That’s considered pre-rut behavior, to establish dominance in the flock. But … he seemed to have already established that with the ones he was with, as they had no interest in fighting.

Then – and I think this was the break in the case – he approached my truck bumper and gave it a few very aggressive pecks. That front bumper is about 24″ high on the side, very shiny, and I imagine he had seen his reflection in it and thought it was a rival male. After pecking the bumper, he came out of his strut, and they went scratching off down the hill. My tentative conclusion is that the rut will come very early this year. The opening day of turkey season is usually the last Saturday in March, and I always assumed that was set for south Georgia, as I’ve rarely heard any gobbling here until later in the season. But the lone female I saw the other day, along with this, seems to tell a different story.

The Fire & Ice Festival and chili cookoff is next weekend. Here’s the official site:

Depending on the weather, this is usually a pretty good time, and sometimes there has been some pretty good music, like the Buckner Brothers. As usual, there’s no mention of who is playing. The people who organize the festivals here seem to think that music is music, so why do you want to know?

It has been reported that the water issues in McCaysville and Copperhill have been resolved, by establishing an emergency link to Copper Basin Utilities. I suppose time will tell if this is a band-aid or a solution, but it would be great if the problems were resolved.

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