I returned to farm country hoping to see some Sandhill Cranes. These birds love to feast on corn stalks that’ve been harvested and plowed into the soil. Right away I was disappointed because I could see the corn fields hadn’t yet been plowed.
What I did see was a flock of turkeys walking along in a straight line and pecking at the ground for nourishment, typically berries, insects, and nuts.
I saw turkeys occasionally when I lived in Northport, but I really haven’t taken a big interest in these birds. Except when they are displaying their beautiful tail feathers, I find their appearance somewhat unusual, especially their red throat wattles and bulging eyes.
In fact, the turkey’s head reminded me a bit of E.T., you know, the Extra-Terrestrial. As the birds were walking out of range, I decided to move on.
I was just about ready to call it quits for the evening when I caught movement in a field across from Hency Marsh. Sandhill Cranes! One appeared to be digging in the dirt while its mate stood watch.
The digging crane seemed poised to plunge its dagger-like bill down into the soil searching for vegetation, insects, or grains.
The crane finally plunged its bill deep into the soil. I couldn’t wait to see what it came up with.
I was learning the crane actually had a process to its foraging. It would delve deeply into the soil to grab a bill-full of soil. Then it would drop the soil on the surface of the ground and pick through it to see what edibles it had found.
In the end, I found more similarities between turkeys and cranes than I’d expected. Both move along with a herky-jerky motion, and both use their bills to peck into the soil to find food.