Experience: I lived as a wild turkey

18. prosinece 2020 11:15

Příroda

My aim was to become indistinguishable from the rest of the flock, but I felt they saw me as the village idiotI started adopting young animals while still a child myself. Many were orphaned newborns, meaning I mothered a variety of creatures - raccoon, squirrel, fox, bobcat, whatever came my way. I felt the animals preferred my company to that of members of their own species, and many even slept in my bed. At the time, I thought I'd discovered a sort of magic; but after years of studying animal behaviour, I learned of a process known as imprinting, whereby young creatures become attached to the first moving object they encounter.I was keen to explore this phenomenon further, but it wasn't until I was in my 40s that I got the chance. In the early 90s, I was living on a large tract of land in rural Florida, working as a wildlife artist and researcher. One day, I was given a dog bowl full of wild turkey eggs by a tractor driver who had almost driven over them. I had to act fast, procuring an incubator at short notice and turning the eggs twice a day, as a turkey hen would. I would regularly "vocalise" at them, recreating the putts and purrs a wild turkey would make on its nest, in order to get the eggs accustomed to my voice. A week or so into the experiment, I started to hear peeped responses from them and the first tiny beak broke through. Continue reading...
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