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A Rafter of Turkeys

Looking it up on the internet, the word for a group of turkeys is a Rafter. Yesterday, I came home from town to a Rafter of turkeys in my yard! We live on a pine flat, and there is a sizeable contingency of these large, goofy-looking creatures that roams the woods. You never know when you might encounter a dozen or more, crossing the road, sometimes only males, sometimes the hens with lots of chicks of different sizes. In March, they have not yet begun to mate and the babies from last year are as big as the adults. So a Rafter of turkeys is pretty impressive!

We do not have a dog. But our neighbor, Kenny, has an Australian Shepherd named Charlie, that has kind of adopted us. Whenever Kenny lets him loose to roam, he always comes over and says hello. Being a very polite dog, he never barks or sticks his nose in unappreciated places. Rather, he approaches and waits for one of us to acknowledge him and then pet him. Just the sweetest pup...

So, yesterday when I drove up and encountered my yard full of turkeys, coincided with Charlie being loose. And he apparently noticed the turkeys about the same time I did. Still sitting in the truck and out of the corner of my eye, I saw him running up the drive. I barely had time to think to myself, "Oh boy, this could have a bad outcome", and he was in the yard. However, rather than causing a terrible uproar by barking, he set about herding these birds that were easily head and neck taller than him, into a lovely circle. He did it so quickly, it took me a second to realize what was happening! I have never seen an Australian Shepherd in action. They are so quick and so nimble! The turkeys did not even pretend to argue! They just herded up.

Years ago, on one of my daily walks, I came upon a group of Toms fighting over a group of hens. It was the most blood-thirsty fight for dominance I have ever witnessed in person. I know what these big birds are capable of.

But Charlie herded this Rafter of turkey up so quickly, they did not have a chance to react in any way but to group up. Then, much to my surprise and great amusement, I watched Charlie stop...look at me...look at them...and with what I swear was a big grin on his face, he ran right into the middle of the turkeys! Half of them went running. That was apparently not enough for him...He ran again and again and got those huge birds to all fly into the pine trees, squawking and making a terrible racket!

Once they were all routed from the yard, he trotted up to me, still with the happiest look on his face, like, "See what I did there? Wasn't that cool?" I swear, he did it just for the joy of doing it! There was not a hint of malice in the entire scenario! He did it because it was his nature to do it, he had an appreciative audience, and because it was FUN!

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