Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Brush turkey beauty parlour

Because they like to look their best.

Although intermittently annoying (yesterday, one of the little devils tried to snatch a sandwich out of my hand while I was standing at the back door), the turkeys have a certain charm. Now that the Dry is here, they are making the most of the opportunity to bathe in the dust and sun.

Dust bathing birds excavate a nice turkey-sized hollow in the soil and then use their wings to scoop dust onto their backs.

When it's time to move, they will stand up and shake themselves like a wet dog to get rid of the excess. As with the soggy pooch, It's not a good idea to be standing nearby when this happens.

As well as getting dust in the feathers, they also like to rub their necks on the soil.

Catching the midday rays is another favourite turkey pasttime. How it's done appears to depend on how secure the bird feels. Most often, they'll just plonk themselves down in a sunny spot and lean a bit to one side so they can catch the sun on the tum.

If there's no one looking, a turkey will roll onto its back to get the full benefit.

Although this behaviour is not without its hazards. This turkey decided to roll over on a downward slope. I don't have the next shot, but you can imagine the feathery panic as gravity took over.

At least when they're doing this, they aren't trying to steal my lunch.


biobabbler said...

Fun post. My chickens do all of the same things (including they eye-protection when dusting neck). They look SO content while dust bathing and sunning, I love it.

And when the wild turkeys come by, WOW can that dust fly! However, I've yet to see chicken or the turkey attempt a dust bath on a steep slope. =)

Snail said...

I don't think that turkey will try the slope again!

They do look as though they're having the best time. Because it's so wet here during summer, they really are going crazy now.

mick said...

It sounds like a takeover by the turkeys. Better make sure they don't learn how to open the back door!

Susan Ellis said...

Those are great turkey dust bath shots! Sort of like humans really...I mean, I don't want to be captured lolling on my back just digging the joy of the bath either! Fun.

Tyto Tony said...

Turkey rolls! Yummy. Oops, forgot. I'm mostly vegan.

Snail said...

Mick, one of them pecks on the window to attract my attention. The same bird is systematically dismantling the screen door!

Snail said...

Susan, I didn't think of it that way. The turkeys will be calling the police next!

Snail said...

You're terrible, Tony!

I'm wondering what they taste like. Probably a bit tough.

Denis Wilson said...

I love a good sequence of shots, Snail. Well done.
i am especially impressed with the shot of the eye protected by the inner eyelid ("nicitating membrane").

Snail said...

Thanks, Denis. I'd been trying for a while to get a dusting shot that was in focus! I've now worked out what the turkeys do just before they start chucking dust around.

I've been trying to get a close up of the nictitating membrane, but that's a bit trickier. I will continue. Gives them a bit of a creepy look, doesn't it?

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Snail
Creepy looking indeed.
Mind you, it works to protect their eyes when having a dust-bath, while allowing some light through, so you cannot creep up on them and surprise them - (with an idea of "Roast Turkey").