It’s spring in Indiana, which means the weather is playing nasty tricks on us. Yesterday it was 70 degrees and sunny; today it was 30 degrees and snowing lightly. That’s a bit dramatic even for us local yokels but a couple of false starts before spring truly sticks are pretty common. I thought I’d take advantage of the cold weather to showcase some snowy footprints I spotted during a women’s retreat a few weeks ago staying in a little cabin in the woods.
My friend Lisa is actually a much better Nature Nerd than I am and was able to identify all the footprints we spotted while I focused on capturing them on film. (Check out our flickr page for footprints from deer, raccoons, possums, and other critters.) I was most excited by the turkey tracks because I think turkeys are super cool. This is mostly from when I housesat for my boss out in the boonies one summer and got to see turkeys walking across a meadow at sunset, surrounded by fireflies. They looked like little dinosaurs with only their reptilian heads sticking above the grass.
Wonder what turkeys eat in the winter? Well, as we followed their tracks around camp we came across this pile of cracked acorns. They look like a lot of work to me but I’m guessing turkey beaks are more efficient at these sorts of tasks than I am. I believe turkeys also depend on different kinds of seeds in the winter, including corn or other grains from nearby farm fields. They probably were quite happy at the camp where we stayed, which had a variety of habitat types including open meadows, wooded ravines, a lake, and nearby farm fields. In the summer they add berries and insects to their diet.
We saw quite a few animal tracks in the snow, especially around the creek, but I figured we probably wouldn’t see any animals themselves as I am not a particularly lightfooted hiker. We were also working hard not to slip on the icy trails and generally paying more attention to our conversation than any efforts to be sneaky. However, an hour into our hike we came up a hill and suddenly spied a flock of turkeys running down the trail from us. Sorta. They were pretty far off. Can you see them?
Here’s a cropped version of the photo where they’re a little easier to spot. Lisa tried to get closer but they are surprisingly fast runners with their bobbing little heads. They also seem undaunted by steep hills and underbrush that left me panting. Guess I am not cut out to be a wild turkey!
Ah, well. We weren’t really planning on a turkey dinner anyway so I’m just happy we caught a glimpse. Maybe next year we’ll see that beaver…