Environment

The Crossing Guard Was a Turkey!

| Tom Driscoll |

You will often see a “rafter” of wild turkeys wandering around the pastures of the Waterhouse Farm in New Gloucester while driving through on the North Pownal Road.

Turkey crossing near Waterhouse Farm | Photo: Tom Driscoll

On a recent westbound ride back to town I came upon this gobbler in the middle of the road while he was acting as crossing guard, strutting his stuff, and flirting with the females.

Last hen crossing under Tom’s protection | Photo: Tom Driscoll

On this occasion about a dozen hens crossed from the low pasture on the south side of the road to Tom’s upland pasture on the north.

April and May is breeding season in Maine with mature male “Toms” dominating.

Wild turkeys can live up to 10 years (unless invited for Thanksgiving dinner) and they can fly up to 60 miles per hour, sometimes for up to a mile.  Young turkeys eventually roost in trees to reduce their vulnerability to predators.

This summer we should see many hens and poults in large flocks in the fields while they forage for food.

Tom the Turkey stopping traffic on North Pownal Road | Photo: Tom Driscoll

The Waterhouse Farm in New Gloucester is now a Forever Farm, arranged by the Maine Farmland Trust and now under an easement held and monitored by the Royal River Conservation Trust.

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