Yesterday I heard some very frantic peeping coming from behind the house, followed by some very urgent gobbling, followed by peeping, then gobbling, repeat (you get the idea). I ventured out to see what the ruckus was, and it appears that the newest addition to the flock of wild turkeys has hatched, and at least half of the batch had managed to fall over our 5' retaining wall and get stuck between the wall and the house. Granted there is a wide opening where almost anything except a day old turkey poult could easily figure out an escape. They couldn't have been more than a day or two old. Their Mamma was pacing back and forth just upslope of the wall calling to them, which was very effective at keeping them from wandering along the wall to the exit. As they continued their serenade for the better part of an hour, all of the neighborhood cats were being called in from all directions.
I know that the turkeys are non-native (although there is some debate about that) and not good for the local ecosystem (although there is debate about that also) - but babies are babies. I walked out back and tried herding them towards one exit, but that just caused them to scatter. So I reached down to pick them up one at a time to deposit them back over the wall, not fully thinking through that Momma Turkey would not understand I wasn't picking them up for bit-sized snacks. Because I was standing behind the 5' retaining wall, that means Momma Turkey was just about at head level. I picked up the first baby, and snapped this shot,
seconds before the 20 lbs of crazy mad Momma Turkey made a claws out wings spread rush for my head. Let me tell you, if I had been about to chow down on her baby, that sure would have been effective. As it was, it got me to not-so-gently-as-I-would-have-liked-to toss the baby in her direction. She was obviously not expecting this, as she didn't notice, and continued her very impressive display despite the happy baby peeping by her tail feathers. At which point I realized that I was now trapped between the house and the retaining wall, barefoot, and that push come to shove, a mad Momma Turkey is much tougher than me! Luckily for me, it was mostly show, and she had no desire to actually touch me if she didn't have to. I was able to deposit the remaining babes back over the wall, and she got a tiny bit less aggressive each time - although I think she may have just been catching her breath.