Who would have thought to encounter a wild turkey flying down the middle of the road, while driving within the compact, urban limits of the City of Belfast? Certainly not me, that’s for sure. But that was exactly what happened this past Saturday.
I was a passenger in a ¾-ton pickup truck and not paying much mind to what lie ahead. But when the driver hollered, “look at that,” my attention immediately became riveted to the scene unfolding directly in front of me. A large, tom turkey, long beard swaying in the wind, was steadily winging toward our truck, at about windshield height.
At was apparent that the bird was trying valiantly to gain altitude. But would it? Could it? We began to slow down, but the turkey’s increase in speed made up for our loss.
When about a hood’s length from the windshield and more to the point, me, the turkey pulled it off. As I ducked, sure of imminent catastrophe, the bird got the lift it so needed. I looked up in time to see a pair of turkey feet passing just inches above the windshield.
At that point, the bird made a sweeping run for a nearby, white pine. It lit on an upper limb with more grace than I would have thought possible.
A memorable event, that was and certainly fortunate for all involved that it worked out the way it did.
So it was not surprising when, on Monday, I saw a small, brown animal waddling across the hot-top parking lot of the local credit union, also in-town Belfast. It was a muskrat.
This was a bit unusual, but not terribly so. In spring, when brooks and streams run high, muskrats go on the move. It’s mating season for them. The little, 1970’s ditty, “Muskrat Love,” comes immediately to mind.
All this just goes to prove that here in Maine, we needn’t live way out in the williwacks in order to experience wild nature. All we have to do is keep our eyes open.