Big Tom Turkeys strutting their stuff - Happy Thansksgiving!

Friends of the Lincoln Library
By: By Jane Tahti For The Lincoln News Messenger
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Here come the big Tom Turkeys, strutting their stuff.

They circle, they turn, they stroll in their Thanksgiving Turkey Testosterone Strut.

We know the Toms are supposed to be trying to attract those drab female hens but it always seems as if the big Toms are much more interested in each other. 

Add a few helmets and a football and they’d probably be playing their own Thanksgiving football game, forgetting about those turkette cheerleaders pecking away on the sidelines. 

It's interesting to come across their tracks when the big Tom Turkeys are showing off.  After a nice rain, with the dirt road swept smooth, the heavy Toms leave incredibly deep prints.

Often, their splayed-out prints are bracketed by a confusing parallel trail that is gouged into the dirt on either side of their tracks.

At first, it’s puzzling.

Almost as if two little kids followed the deep prints, each pulling a stick along either side of the turkey tracks.

But the mysterious design is explained when we stop to watch several Tom turkeys strutting their stuff in the middle of the dirt road. 

Handsomely dowdy a few moments ago, they become a grey and brown and black splendor when they spread their tail feathers out into that wide gorgeous fan, the traditional feathered fan that has been immortalized by every grade school Thanksgiving artist. 

But the Tom’s fanned-out tail feathers are only part of their strut.

Once their tail feathers are spread wide, then out and down go their long wings, with stiff feathers protruding at the very end of each wing. 

Those end feathers cut down through the dirt in a parallel line that follows alongside the deep turkey prints.

It’s hard to believe but there weren’t any turkeys around here when we were kids. 

But now, today, it seems like they’re in every yard and driveway.

Thank goodness they don’t have credit cards or they’d be gobbling through the Galleria with the rest of the shoppers, looking for bargains on Black Friday and avoiding the leftover dark-meat/white-meat turkey platters.

Of course, they wouldn’t leave any tracks at the Galleria.

But out in the suburbs and countryside, you can see their deep Tom Turkey tracks: those splayed three-fingered talons, bordered by the sketchy drag of the stiff feathers dragging through the dirt at the end of their widespread wings.

Yes, you can see their turkey tracks, if you’re lucky enough to live near an old dirt road.


At the Twelve Bridges Library

Free Family Story Time:  3:30 to 4 p.m. Wednesdays. Includes stories and songs for all ages.

Free Mother Goose on the Loose: 10:30 or 11:30 a.m. Thursdays for kids.

Events are sponsored by Friends of the Lincoln Library.  Wheelchairs and handicapped access are available. The Twelve Bridges Library is at 485 Twelve Bridges Drive in Lincoln.

This column is part of a Friends of the Lincoln Library series. To reach the nonprofit Friends, write to Box 1177, Lincoln CA 95648, contact 434-2404 Jane Tahti is the Friends of the Lincoln Library secretary.