. . .just another urban bird / cat sighting / encounter . . . the likes of which we, my wife and I,may never see again. During a stroll in fading daylight at 4:30 pm, we turn a corner a block up from our lovely neighborhood creek, Codornices, and come upon two mature male wild turkeys foraging in a curbside garden. To many, meh, what's a couple of dumbf**k turkeys - to a bird watcher, nature lover, this is totally COOL!
On the eve of this hallowed Thanksgiving holiday, their presence is a manifest symbol, a visible, visceral reminder of the sad treatment of the delightfully quirky birds, whose 16 pound bodies will sate the ornithophagus palates of nearly 90% of Americans tomorrow. Outnumbered 254 million (raised) to 7 million (wild) nationwide, the small wild turkey contingent of Berkeley, hallelujah, freely roams, is fully protected, and blissfully ignorant of the fate of 46 million of their overfed kind, most of them factory-farm produced, artificially bred with antibiotics and hormones, often mistreated, and pumped out as grotesquely deformed creatures for mass consumption. I guess you could say we're with the other 10%. . ."organic" and "free-range" carcasses notwithstanding.
Our turkey friends are nonchalantly browsing, perturbed by nothing, not passing cars, not us, not even by a young black cat eyeballing their every move intently in semi-stalk mode. We stop to observe what might happen next. The too young to know better cat is entranced, probably first time in her little life she's seen the big ol' obstreperous Meleagris gallopavo, thinking, maybe, how delicious-looking, but forget about taking one down. . .
Suddenly emboldened, she pounces toward one, approaching shyly, then backs off the second ol' Mel - or is it Gallo? - raises a threatening head and furiously fans his tail as pretty as a peacock's. Retreating under a car, the cat maintains her intense vigil, twice emerging to confront the grazing turkeys, but never brave enough to engage in the deadly battle said little cute precious kitty would engage in, and win overpoweringly, with helpless and endangered songbirds. Finally, the Pavo brothers have had enough, and intimidate the cat into permanent retreat with feather-ruffling histrionics and threatening pokes of their armored beaks. I know, I know, you probably had to be there. . .
. . .Still, you never know what you'll see on the streets of Berkeley, where wild turkey and deer forage, raccoon and possum prowl about, mountain lions stalk, Cooper Hawks lurk, and birds of many a feather flock together in don't matter weather. Next time, it would be nice to have my camera.