Tag Archives: turkeys

A Family Outing in Siouxland, Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, SD

24 Sep
A family of turkeys enjoy a morning out together at the playground at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Monday, August 30, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes we humans take for granted some of the amenities available to us, even here in Siouxland. The amenities are certainly nice and I was pleasantly surprised to find a passel of turkeys enjoying a playground area early one morning before the humans showed up. Although not house trained, the turkeys can leave a trail behind and are not known for picking up after themselves.

A turkey preens itself on a bench at the playground area at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Monday, August 30, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

As “residents” of the park, I am sure the turkeys appreciate the area as much as their human counterparts. And early in the morning they have it all to themselves to wander and enjoy. Although wary of passing trail walkers also out early. It’s just a nice way to start the day.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Monday, August 30, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying a Morning out in Siouxland, Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, SD

10 Sep
American wild turkeys and their young forage for food in morning light at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I like many in Siouxland enjoy a nice morning walk when the weather’s nice and the sun is just coming up. That activity is not exclusive to humans but also wildlife when it might be a bit safer to take the family out for a stroll and morning brunch. I consider myself lucky when I happen upon such a “family” and I don’t spook them too much and be patient while they make their way to whatever destination they choose. Have the fun is just watching their behavior and seeing nature up close and somewhat personal, each being on it way to start a new day and to see what awaits.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A young wild American Turkey chick stretches its wing while out walking with its parent at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

American wild turkeys and their young forage for food in morning light at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Speeding through Siouxland, Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, SD

4 Sep
A turkey chick cranes its neck to look for a possible predator after flying into the branches of a nearby tree near a trail along with several siblings at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Monday, July 05, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I used to run nearly everyday when I was younger, pushing myself on the various routes I would chart on trails, streets, tracks, various places always trying to change up the scenery and impact different surfaces had on my body. Until that is my doctor told me my knees would no longer sustain that kind of activity. These days in Siouxland I chart various places to walk, but mostly contain myself to nature preserves and other places where I might see song birds, deer, other critters and where I can walk at ease and not feel in a hurry and enjoy myself “on the journey” as opposed to the journey’s end as I did when I finished my 4-5 mile (nearly) daily run as I did in the past.

Taking a run at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Tuesday, July 20, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A turkey flies into a brushy area looking to avoid a passerby at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying a morning bike ride at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, South Dakota Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

When at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve I envy those I see out for a run. I just truly enjoyed the exertion and the movement, especially when I found myself in that runner’s “groove”. These days I think of the missed opportunities some of these folk miss when speeding down a trail or path getting in their daily exercise. Making a noise before reaching a point along the trail that might spook critters getting a morning snack or heading to a spot they will bed down for an afternoon nap during the heat of the day.

A white-tailed deer watches a visitor using a walking trail at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Tuesday, July 20, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A deer and turkey spy a passer-by in a meadow area and then take off in different directions after seeing a passerby at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Monday, July 05, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

My slower pace has led me to other discoveries and enjoying nature in a different way. And I am not saying folk out running or biking are not enjoying nature. A friend rides a bike all the time and and is able to photograph some pretty amazing scenes while out and about. Although he is scanning the area he is in as an avid birder, and looking to document what he sees. I try to walk softly when on the trails since I am actively looking for critters to photograph and much more moving along than sitting in a blind waiting for creatures to come my way. Although recently I acquired a blind and will see how that works out and whether my patience and ability to sit still for more than 15 minutes will help me.

A Western Meadowlark sings from its perch along an open woodland as it watches a visitor using a walking trail at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Tuesday, July 20, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Cooling down after a run at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Tuesday, July 20, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Taking a walk at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Tuesday, July 20, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And maybe my adjustment to my enjoyment of nature has changed since I can no longer run and must confine myself to footfalls as I traverse various trails and places. And I was never a really big biking enthusiast, even less so after some close encounters with drivers who probably aren’t good drivers even without traffic on the roadways. And I am content with that, enjoying the morning, learning animal behavior and seeing if my photographic reflexes will allow me the chance to capture a critter in motion or in its habitat as I quietly and slowly move into a better photographic shooting position without alarming or stressing the animals.

Regardless of one’s reason being outdoors and in nature, it’s good for a person to put down the electronics and just enjoy those moments of quiet and scenes that don’t include buildings, vehicles or other “manmade” items other than bird blinds. Solitude and space has its rewards and I hope to enjoy more of them down the road.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A doe and its fawn make their way down a mowed walking trail at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Monday, July 05, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Birds of a Feather in Siouxland, Hinton

9 Apr

A couple of geese land in a field north of Hinton, Iowa Wednesday, March 4, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

While out driving about in Siouxland recently I saw a couple large flocks of turkey in a field and pulled over to see what I might be able to photograph. While waiting a few minutes to see what the birds might do, a couple of geese flew into the field and started making their way to some of the turkeys, much like travelers dropping into a restaurant in a local community.

Turkeys chase geese away from their feeding area north of Hinton, Iowa Wednesday, March 4, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Turkeys chase geese away from their feeding area north of Hinton, Iowa Wednesday, March 4, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I was greatly surprised when I saw the turkeys basically charge the two geese and began chasing them away. I don’t spend a lot of time watching nature other than the cursory look one gives when just outside and you see what you see. Because of my position along the roadway I wasn’t able right away to see the turkeys get so close to the geese. And it seemed they were not going to relinquish their food source very easily. Until the heard more goose calls and a couple of other geese flew into the field and landed in a nearby pond. A smart move considering the welcome their brethren received minutes earlier.

Two more geese land in a field and make for a pond north of Hinton, Iowa Wednesday, March 4, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

With the sound of more “honking” filling the air, the “offended” turkeys made their way away from the earlier geese and back to another area of the field. There easily was 4-5 acres of space that would accommodate all of the feathered friends. And upon driving further up the roadway I saw a large gathering of geese in another field. Which left me wondering if the late arriving geese which landed in the pond were sent to retrieve their direction challenged cousins and direct them to the correct field they seemed to overshoot when landing.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Turkeys chase geese away from their feeding area north of Hinton, Iowa Wednesday, March 4, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Siouxland’s Audubon Christmas Bird Count, Sioux City

25 Dec

I spent a recent Saturday morning, Dec. 22, 2012, and early afternoon hiking in local areas as I followed two members of the Loess Hills Audubon Society during their annual Christmas bird count in Siouxland. The members fan out throughout the local area and look for as many different types of bird species as they can see. Relying on their eyes and ears to spot various birds chattering away amongst a tangle of tree branches and shrubs.

Helen Harvey became interested in birding after becoming unemployed for a short period. “I used my husband’s bird book and looked up these birds I saw while eating breakfast and realized, “Wow! That thing’s (bird) is going up to the Artic. It’s kind of an insight into a world of wildlife you don’t experience any other way”, that is, getting out and birding. Harvey said she saw another bird at a feeder in her backyard but after several attempts could never find it in a bird book. Then one day she did find this bird in a book and saw there is only one spot in the entire U.S. where this particular species lives, and it was in the same area she lived in at the time. “So I started realizing there is a whole world of interesting things. I basically started as a backyard birder and over the years it kind of snowballed and has become a bit of an odd obsession.”

Harvey said a recent odd and unexpected sighting occurred when she was out chasing starlings in an industrial area of Sioux City and saw a whooping crane in this same industrial area in town. “There are only 300 of these in the western wild of the U.S. and to catch a glimpse of one in an industrial park in Sioux City…….” Harvey said as she started laughing. She said she trembled the rest of the day from witnessing that.

Randy Williams attended an ornithology class in 1974 while in college and later worked as a seasonal interpreter at Wind Cave National Park in western South Dakota. Williams moved to Sioux City, Iowa, in 1981 and found the local Audubon Society and became involved with the group, although he says he is a more casual birder than some other locals.

Williams says he has attended some regional birding trips and get togethers but nothing as exotic as going to Ecuador where some other locals have traveled to look for birds. Williams said he’s enjoyed seeing a Bean goose and the Sandhill cranes as well as thousands of snow geese at the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge near Missouri Valley, Iowa.

Most times on bird count outings Williams said they usually scare up smaller birds like juncos, woodpeckers and generally also see turkeys that are somewhat wild as well as seeing pigeons and add them to the count, although these birds are not in any kind of danger as some others that migrate through or whose habitats have been affected over the years. Williams said the local Audubon society’s objective is to break 50 species during the counting but it is challenging because there is not as wide a variety of habitat as say on a coastline where there are even more birds that would include gulls, shore birds and such, because this area is landlocked without a large lake or other bodies of water.

The day ended for Williams and Harvey with some satisfaction and some disappoint in what they saw. Besides the birds, they also encountered a number of deer and one coyote. The report Williams filed for the local society included: six red-tailed hawks, three bald eagles, 70 wild turkeys, 10 rock doves, 18 red-bellied woodpeckers, four northern flickers, 15 downy woodpeckers, six hairy woodpeckers, eight blue jays, 17 American crows, 25 black-capped chickadees, 16 white-breasted nuthatches, six eastern bludbirds, one American robin, 60 European starlings, two cedar waxwings, 15 dark-eyed juncos, six northern cardinals and 4 house sparrows. They traveled two miles on foot and 52 miles by car covering areas that included Logan Cemetery and Stone State Park.

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