On my morning forest walk I encountered a protective hen with her chicks, also called "poults"
So, I'm ambling happily along seeing what's in bloom, what's ready to gather, and simply enjoying a late Spring morn in the forest close to home.
I'm looking at the ground and when I look up, there in the middle of the trail is a wild turkey nestled down in front of me. My first thought was that she was hurt. She made no attempt to move so I thought I'd just skirt around her.
When I got to about two feet away she jumped to her feet. Beneath her were about eight wee, fluffy chicks running in tight circles, startled by the sudden removal of their shelter and warmth.
Mama turkey faced off with me and I backed up and turned around and headed back the way I'd come.
Thankfully, she wasn't as aggressive as a goose or swan would likely have been and I was able to escape at the pace of a fast walk with her right behind me. She "chased" me for nearly a quarter of a mile. I kept thinking that she'd turn back to her chicks but she wanted me far, far away from them. Finally she ran up the bank and back toward them. I had to take a longer way home instead of the shortcut I'd intended but it was worth the extra distance to have seen something so precious as those fluffy babies and to experience the maternal instincts of a wild creature smaller than me. Thankfully, that wild creature was not a bear!
My condo is so close to the edge of the forest that deer, wild turkeys, and quail are often seen passing through our garden areas. I treasure their presence with a sense of wonder and delight. Although the deer do munch on our landscaping, I've discovered that pinning a scented dryer sheet beneath something they like to snack on keeps them away from it.
Last Spring on the same trail I awakened this young buck from his early morning nap as I walked by.