A Little Local Color (Part 1): They Can’t Do That–Can They?

 

Our neighbor, I’ll call him “Tom,” showed up last week to borrow a couple tools from my husband. The trim, grey-bearded horse owner fits in well on our dirt road where all us locals are different in our own way. His expression is bemused, his humor cynical. The house number stenciled on the rock near his driveway intrigues me with the message: “Friend of Larry’s.” Like the arena owner up the road, he loves his horses but doesn’t put up with nonsense from them.

He was telling us about it as he sat in our living room chatting — first about working years at the plant, being at the union, being gypped. Then the horse story, teaching one to mind the electric fence so he wouldn’t escape again. Also, how his aged horse died and how the equine buddy left behind is pining for his old friend.

I brought up a subject I’ve been curious about for some time. When we first moved here, there were peacocks. You could hear their strange calls all over the hills when you went for walks. What happened to them? And I’m still puzzled about the answer I got. Tom said that they bred with the small flocks of wild turkeys we see hanging around near our road. He said he’s seen these hybrids, and they are some ugly birds.

I’ve been thinking about Tom’s explanation, and I’m not sure whether it’s possible for a peacock to breed with a turkey. Maybe if the offspring were sterile, like mules, it could work? Surely not, as it’s been so many years that any offspring would have died out by now. That is, unless turkeys — or purkeys, or turcocks — outlive our domestic hens. Meanwhile, I’m keeping my eyes open for these creatures. I did notice that a lone young turkey wanders our property and seems to like our creek. I thought that might be one of the freaks, but on closer inspection, he seems like an ordinary turkey, after all.

April Showers Bring May Back Yards

The path to real spring was tortuous (and torturous sometimes, too) with endless gray days, mud, dripping dreary fog, and yet more snow when we longed for blue skies. But spring arrived (on a particular Saturday afternoon in April, as I mentioned before), and it’s glorious here. Some hard rains gave way to a lush, green landscape–not so many flowers yet in our neighborhood, but soft grass and fresh new leaves on the trees. I don’t complain about that. Speaking of the creek, here’s a view of our backyard today from our deck: Apparently, some individuals (males, to be specific) see this, and all they can think is, What a perfect place for target practice. 

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  1. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    sawatdeeka: Apparently, some individuals (males, to be specific) see this, and all they can think is, What a perfect place for target practice. 

    Nah.  You need a bank to shoot into.

    • #1
  2. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    sawatdeeka: Apparently, some individuals (males, to be specific) see this, and all they can think is, What a perfect place for target practice.

    Nah. You need a bank to shoot into.

    Yep, totally agree you need a berm as a backstop. I hate to be the typical cop party pooper but you also need to know what the county, or township rules are on discharging a firearm as well in your area. Those rules are based upon the location of other homes.

     

    • #2
  3. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    My understanding is that chicken, turkey and peacocks come from the same family.  In theory they can occasionally cross breed but and it would be rare so no significant flock can be / has been established.  If I remember correctly if there is a cross it is always a sterile male that is produced.  

    More common is that they are similar enough in flock dynamics that feral chickens, turkeys, peacocks will flock together in the wild for common protection.  Thus you see mixed flocks that tend to give the impression that you have a cross breed flock when there is only a mixed breed flock in a lose self protection flock arrangement.  

    • #3
  4. sawatdeeka Member
    sawatdeeka
    @sawatdeeka

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    sawatdeeka: Apparently, some individuals (males, to be specific) see this, and all they can think is, What a perfect place for target practice.

    Nah. You need a bank to shoot into.

    Yep, totally agree you need a berm as a backstop. I hate to be the typical cop party pooper but you also need to know what the county, or township rules are on discharging a firearm as well in your area. Those rules are based upon the location of other homes.

    I took it for granted that the targets on the trees were noticeable in the picture. This is where my husband (former Marine) does some occasional shooting. No one lives behind there. Maybe it’s not perfect, but it’s where it happens. 

     

    • #4
  5. sawatdeeka Member
    sawatdeeka
    @sawatdeeka

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):

    My understanding is that chicken, turkey and peacocks come from the same family. In theory they can occasionally cross breed but and it would be rare so no significant flock can be / has been established. If I remember correctly if there is a cross it is always a sterile male that is produced.

    More common is that they are similar enough in flock dynamics that feral chickens, turkeys, peacocks will flock together in the wild for common protection. Thus you see mixed flocks that tend to give the impression that you have a cross breed flock when there is only a mixed breed flock in a lose self protection flock arrangement.

    Wow, respect. My new name for you is Encyclopedia John.

    • #5
  6. sawatdeeka Member
    sawatdeeka
    @sawatdeeka

    By the way, I don’t know how a turcock could be any uglier than some of these turkeys.  They can be hideous. And they are pests that come into our yard after birdseed sometimes. And they smell. And leave big droppings. 

    Tom said they were originally domestic turkeys someone was raising, and somehow we this other thing happened. 

    • #6
  7. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    sawatdeeka (View Comment):

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):

    My understanding is that chicken, turkey and peacocks come from the same family. In theory they can occasionally cross breed but and it would be rare so no significant flock can be / has been established. If I remember correctly if there is a cross it is always a sterile male that is produced.

    More common is that they are similar enough in flock dynamics that feral chickens, turkeys, peacocks will flock together in the wild for common protection. Thus you see mixed flocks that tend to give the impression that you have a cross breed flock when there is only a mixed breed flock in a lose self protection flock arrangement.

    Wow, respect. My new name for you is Encyclopedia John.

    Well birds or sort of a hobby.  I am somewhat interested in the feral flocks (especially parrots) thus why I know a bit about this.  

    • #7
  8. Nanda Pajama-Tantrum Member
    Nanda Pajama-Tantrum
    @

    @sawatdeeka, thanks for the neighborhood tour! It sounds wonderful and that’s a great picture…Oh, and S/F to your Marine, too.

    • #8
  9. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Doug Watt (View Comment):
    Yep, totally agree you need a berm as a backstop. I hate to be the typical cop party pooper but you also need to know what the county, or township rules are on discharging a firearm as well in your area. Those rules are based upon the location of other homes.

    Those rules may be remarkably hard to find out.  I wanted to find out if I could put a bullet trap in the garage so I could shoot in the house, and never did find anyone to give me a definite answer.

    • #9
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