Sunday, April 13, 2014

Stuttin their stuff

     It's springtime in the hills and time to strut your stuff.  Perhaps one of the most demonstrative displays of courtship, a Rio Grande gobbler spreads his tail, drags his wings, puffs up and engorges his waddle--all designed to attract the ladies.  The hens walk around, pecking at some food, mostly ignoring the pompous male.  There's nothing quite as beautiful as watching this natural exhibition on a bright, sunny morning.  This morning brought a meeting with some of the local deer who weren't quite keen on sharing their morning breakfast with this strutting stud.
This young doe seems mesmerized by this displaying tom.  "What do you think you are doing?  This is OUR feed field!"

The hen ignores the grandiose display of this blustery fella as he walks through a gauntlet of deer to keep up with her.

     The hen ambles along ahead of the lusty tom ignoring his amorous display.  She may have already bred and is headed to a well-hidden nest where she will lay another egg.  Once she has a dozen or so eggs, she will begin incubating.  After 26 days or so, the eggs hatch and another cycle of life begins for this fascinating species.
     The Red Hills was one of the first areas for re-introductions of wild turkeys in Kansas.  The Kansas Forestry, Fish and Game Commission brought birds in during the early 1960's.  Flocks in the Red Hills were favored for trap and transplant operations eventually leading to the first modern-day Kansas hunting season in 1974.  As we enjoy watching or hunting these beautiful birds, its good to remember the dedication of folks 50 years ago to make it all happen.     

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