Sunday, November 15, 2009

King of the Castle


King of the Castle

My friend and I
return after our whale walking
to her home in the rain forest
and entering the bush
we take a short cut
across the neighbour's yard
where we notice
something odd...


a large area of garden
under the trees
has been cleared of mulch
the irrigation pipes exposed...

and over here
in this section
a huge mound
of leaf litter
and ground cover
banking up
around the palms


and here we have the culprit
the king of his very own castle
the very industrious brush turkey


the male bush (or brush) turkey
has been very busy
readying his nursery


for it is his job
to scratch and flick
scratch and flick


until he has a home fit
for the incubation
of 16-24 eggs


of which he then is responsible
for maintaining the climate control
the optimum temperature
for hatching is 33-35*C
Father will add to
or remove coverage
as need be
according to his beak thermometer's readings
which are taken
several times a day


the mounds can be 1.5 m high
and about 4m wide



and the same site
will be used
year after year


as he scratches and flicks
his yellow wattle
swirls around his neck
the wattle increases in size
and brightness
at breeding time


 I wrote about the bush turkeys here
including information
about an albino turkey chick
spotted in town last spring....

 the owner of this property
has been told
it is an offense
to remove the nest
and reclaim his garden...

We'll leave this busy bush turkey
to his focused

scratch and flick
scratch and flick

he has a schedule to meet...



  1. What a magical find & post, Delwyn.

    Aloha, Friend!

    Comfort Spiral

  2. hi delwyn, that's amazing!!! i was half-expecting you to say it was home to something large and reptilian - but a turkey!!!! it's so cool that he can know what the temperature is . . . and so well. cool post delwyn!!! have a lovely day down there. steven

  3. Well, this was fun. And what a backyard! This planet is a beautiful place.

  4. That is one busy bird - fascinating that he can gauge temperature with his beak.

  5. What a handsome and industrious fellow! I hope you might have a peek at the "nursery" after the hatching.

  6. Hi Delwyn, I wasn't expecting the culprit to be a turkey, he sure has been busy. I've come across turkey nests here, but they are nestled in the leaf mulch among the ferns, nothing elaborate or as big as the bush turkey "nursery". The ones here do scratch and flick as you say, all through the leaves out back looking for food.

    Hope to see the babies when they hatch.


  7. Fascinating information about the bush turkey. What a great find on your walk! You captured him in action, which makes for perfect photos.

  8. Nice post,hope his person is happy too.

  9. how very fascinating-- I learn so much from your blog and others about all kinds of interesting birds and animals all over the world.

  10. Well a turkey is a turkey and it doesn't look like you have got to go too far to get Christmas dinner - might I suggest a good old length of kiwi four by two.

  11. Male Bush turkeys have been known to inhabit not only castles, but also a White House.

  12. Oh wow! So neat to learn about this little bird (though I guess really, he's not so little). You find the neatest things on your walks! :D

  13. Delwyn

    It's great to see such industry and commitment. In a quiet corner of the world, a Bush Turkey is going about his business...and doing a good job too!

  14. Amen to the above! Wonderful post.

  15. Delwyn

    I am learning so much from your blog! Never put turkeys and Australia together--we live in an amazing world.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Tracy :)

  16. Hi Delwyn: Imagine his being able to gauge the temperature inside the mound with his beak. Ahh . . . the wonders all around us!

  17. I wish I had half his energy!

    In fact, my wife wishes I had half his energy!

    Nice to know his work is protected.

  18. What an interesting story about Miss Turkey. Hopefully, you will be able to go back and see her after she has hatched her eggs.

  19. What a huge responsibility for this male. His coloring is gorgeous and he is very industrious. I would be thrilled if it came to my garden and built a nest, maybe the owners aren't too keen on it. Thanks

  20. What a delightful set of pictures, turkeys making nests and returning year after year to the same site. Incredible.

  21. What an amazing father! Isn't that fantastic how well they can tell the temperature with their beaks! You must post little turkey shots later!

  22. Hi Delwyn! This was perfect timing for us Americans with Thanksgving right around the corner! I see how really observant you are; wild turkeys come across our lawn and through the neighborhood all the time, and not once have I seen a nest or egg! I do know it is illegal to disturb their nests, though (if I saw one). I know our nests are on the ground but nowhere near as barricaded as yours! I wonder when you'll see the chicks! xxox

  23. Hi everyone
    it is good to see you all and read your interesting comments.

    I have been waking very early. The day lights up here at 4.30 am but I have been waking at 3.30am and not getting back to sleep. So the other day I thought I would have a Nana nap in the afternoon. I was lying comfortably drifting away when there was an incredible commotion outside and then a huge shape appeared on the gazebo outside my bedroom, the size of a large hawk!!!
    Next it leapt onto the tin roof and slid all the way down the other side claws scratching for foot hold. At this point I gave up on my Nana nap and went out to investigate...and yes it was a pair of silly turkeys...
    It's turkey time of year!

    Happy days

  24. Delwyn, I enjoyed that so much! I never knew turkeys did that, thank you for the set of photos and information (i love that kind of thing).He/She didn't seem to be to bothered by you. Are they very tame then?
    Sorry you haven't been getting much sleep.

  25. Hi Delwyn, I enjoyed your turkey post. Imagine being able to gauge the temperature inside the mound with his beak - fascinating. Looking forward to seeing some photos of the chicks.

  26. Ah, Delwyn, you do find the most magical places and have such perfect timing! Thanks for sharing your special moment with nature. It truly is magical. Blessings!!

  27. I really loved this post. You have such a wonderful way of telling stories of these incredible creatures that you live near. What a magical place!

  28. LOL! - I just went back and read some of the comments - we all used the same adjective - magical. It must be so!

  29. Hello Delwyn,

    What amazing mounds they made!!
    Male birds look very industrious and wise enough to take good care of their mounds, don't they?
    My husband should have read this post, if possible! Thank you for sharing. I enjoyed this post very much!

  30. so fascinating to watch in person I'm sure... just discovered your blog, full of visual splendor of nature!

  31. This guy is taking over the garden. That is an impressive hill of mulch he is creating.

  32. What a turkey! How interesting that it is the dad turkey that tends the eggs. Neat that he let you get so close, or is that your new powerful lens at work?

    There are lots of wild turkeys in Maine, and I often see them on my bike rides. They can be very aggressive. Next week for Thanksgiving we’ll be eating a domestic one.

  33. Lenore

    welcome to these pages from Qld...

    Sarah and Lori ann,
    you can approach him quite closely and he becomes skittish and runs away...they have become tamer as they have invaded the town more, wandering down our main tourist strip, in and out of gardens scratching and flicking messes wherever they go...

    Happy days

  34. Holiday greetings went to all kind Bloggers!
    An Angel is in "Nature's Beauties" to bring the message.
    by e-mail it is difficult to send
    E-mail for Blue bird is:

  35. Fascinating reading about the brush turkeys - I do so enjoy learning about your beautiful birds, and you put so much care and detail into your posts for us! Hope you are keeping well :)

  36. Fascinating reading about the brush turkeys - I do so enjoy learning about your beautiful birds, and you put so much care and detail into your posts for us! Hope you are keeping well :)

  37. I've never heard of this turkey! What an industrial little guy...and fascinating nesting habits. Kinda reminds me of the penguins where the male keeps the eggs warm. Lovely post!

  38. Really wonderful story...nice pictures too.

    This is something new for me...thanks for sharing it:)

  39. I love it! Very creative!That's actually really cool.


  40. For we Americans, it's EXCELLENT to see a LIVE turkey this week, since here just about everyone is getting ready to sit down and eat one tomorrow. Thank you for this.

    He is really quite gorgeous, btw.

  41. Just popping in to say hello! Hope you are doing well!

  42. We have the yellow/black cockatoos (in your earlier post) here a lot.

    I've missed you.

    Just wanted to send love and prayers in case you needed them.



Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.