Wildlife in the Yard

Wild Turkey tom (Meleagris gallopavo)

Wild Turkey tom (Meleagris gallopavo)

Yesterday afternoon I noticed a wild hen turkey near our feeder and as I drew near the window right below me was a tom strutting his stuff! Like the iconic Thanksgiving bird, he displays heightened mating season color and stance – blue skin on his head and bright red wattles, fanned tail, lowered striped wings and ruffed up iridescent back feathers. I love the way the hens virtually ignore their amorous advances, almost bored and seemingly unimpressed.

IMG_4886Relaxing his feathers and stopping only a few times to peck at some tidbit on the ground, he resumed his full mating stance, vibrating his tail as he stalked her across the yard and into the woods. Fascinating to watch!

IMG_4878 IMG_4896


Then today, our dog alerted me to another surprise visitor in the driveway – a bobcat! By the time I retrieved my camera he or she was beating a hasty retreat into the woods.


Bobcat (Lynx rufus)

IMG_4901It appears to have been tagged in its left ear. Perhaps it was a relocated animal or an orphan released into the wild?

It’s encounters like these that make me happy that we live in a rural area where wild critters abound. Glad to see that they made it through the harsh winter in good condition. May they live long, healthy and productive lives with lots of offspring!


About Eliza Waters

Gardener, writer, photographer, naturalist
This entry was posted in Country Living, Field Notes, My Photos and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

59 Responses to Wildlife in the Yard

  1. Murtagh's Meadow says:

    Wow, how amazing to have wild turkeys and a bobcat in your garden!

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Seeing wild animals two days in a row is unusual, but I see tracks more often. The bobcat is a rare sighting. In 25 years, I’ve seen maybe 4 in the yard. They generally roam at night.

  2. cindy knoke says:

    Oh my gosh the bobcat thrills me!!!

  3. Robin says:

    How wonderful! And you managed to not just see them, but catch them with your camera. We have a wild turkey hanging around here, but I haven’t been able to catch her yet. I’m told we have bobcats here on the Eastern Shore. No sightings (by me or M) so far.

    Is it tree tapping time? I noticed the taps and buckets in your header. Maple syrup…yum!

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Actually, the season has come and gone. It is pretty short 10-14 days, in March around here, although it was late this year due to the unrelenting cold. I love maple syrup, cream (divine) and sugar candy. My son used to beg me to make sugar on snow when he was little…delicious but cariogenic!

  4. Val Boyko says:

    Tis the season … and so much more to discover 🙂

  5. Treah says:

    Seems like the bobcat might be scoping out a turkey dinner! His (or her) Thanksgiving celebration for making it through that nasty winter.

  6. Sue Vincent says:

    Gorgeous! We had a wildlife encounter today, the small dog and I.. part of it was wonderful.. part of it hilarious. Well, for any observers, no doubt 🙂 I will, of course, tell you all about it 🙂

  7. ladygrace33 says:

    Lucky you for having so fine company visiting. Great shots 🙂

  8. Beautiful pictures of the turkeys. Perhaps the bobcat was in search of a drumstick?! Great photos.

  9. arlingwoman says:

    Wow, those turkeys are something. A few years ago, one tried over and over to fly through the wind of my parent’s living room. For voles, you can also hope for hawks or foxes…

    • Eliza Waters says:

      I hope the window didn’t break! I have a female cardinal that taps her reflection, but she is no turkey – yikes! My cats used to be great mousers but a year and a half ago I decided to keep them inside full time because of the birds (it is also healthier due to parasites). I wish they could go back on the job, alas.

      • arlingwoman says:

        When my mother went to see what the noise was, it seemed to realize it wasn’t flying at a rival… Ah your poor cats. You could let them back out in the fall when the mice are trying to get back in–thus keeping the fledglings safe.

  10. I love what you wrote about the hens. I think we women can relate to this behavior at times 🙂

  11. So cool! I regularly see deer and turkey at my parents’ house, but I’ve never seen a bobcat!

    • Eliza Waters says:

      This is their breeding season, probably the only reason this one was out roaming in broad daylight. A lucky sighting and right in the driveway no less!

  12. Trini Lind says:

    Looove the lynx! 🙂

  13. That bobcat is impressive. There is nothing remotely domestic about them, is there? The one we spotted in Arizona on the wall of our courtyard was extremely muscular and self-assured. Quite the imposing creature. I haven’t seen one around here and would be really scared for Max if I did. They’re about the same size and I’d be scared to death what one could do to him.

    • Eliza Waters says:

      This one was even bigger than that, about the size of Wren, 35#. I thought the same thing. It wasn’t afraid, calmly walked away, didn’t run. Luckily, their diet is smaller fare, rodents mostly. Good kitty! 😉

  14. Leyla says:

    cute pictures 🙂

  15. dorannrule says:

    We see a lot of wildlife here Eliza – but never a bobcat! Amazing.

  16. LadyPinkRose says:

    Loved to view your wildlife images, Eliza. The one of the lynx made me sad, though. Why does man think he has the right to tag these precious animals? Can you imagine this poor cat’s discomfort with something that huge stuck to his ear? I think these cats are getting scarce, so for you to actually see one is totally amazing. You should find out what the lynx means as a Totem. And turkey too. I feel strongly they both stopped by to give you Messages. Love, Amy ❤

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Thanks, Amy, I can only assume the tag is for research in order to provide better understanding of what their range and needs are so we can better serve and protect them. I wear pierced earrings and don’t feel a thing! 😉
      You may be right about the totem messengers … I will have to look them up. 🙂

  17. kp says:

    Eliza…..beautiful photos…and I love your header as well!! Where do you live that you have so much wild life?? Kim

  18. Robbie says:

    LOVE your new header-all the turtles. When I ride my bike along the river- I love seeing them on the backwaters sunning on old tree limbs in the water. You have some neat animals on your property-that bob cat, I have never see one up that close:-)

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Thank you, Robbie. I took that on my recent trip to SC. Turtles know how to live! The bobcat was a thrill to see…handsome kitty! 😉

      • Robbie says:

        lol..I was thinking that ( kitty) he looks like one of my indoor cats:-) That picture where you capture him walking away is how they move when they walk around our home. Simon( gray one) was found in a dumpster eating as a kitten. We adopted him as a rescue and he still will snatch a bone off a plate if you don’t clean up quickly-tee hee-they are carnivores! No mice problem around here:-)

  19. Kathy Sturr says:

    How exciting Eliza! Both the turkey and the bobcat – let’s hope the bobcat doesn’t have turkey for dinner! Interesting – the tagged ear. I wonder if you could track that down somehow to the source. In Maine we always had turkeys in our yard and I would think oh no! (because my dog at that time thought turkey poop was a scooby snack – yuk!). One day I looked out at our feeders, in ME, and even saw a pair of ducks! Here, the village is too busy for the turkeys but I often see them driving around as we are surrounded by farmland. (I would not be surprised by ducks or geese though since we are so close to the river.) I love that I read more and more sightings of bobcats – such beautiful creatures and so elusive – perhaps they are adapting to more populated areas – or sadly, that we are still brazenly invading. Anyway, excited for you! Great sighting!

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Thanks, Kathy. I did think about contacting the Dept. of F&W to see if they have a tagging program here. Not that I have an information other than a sighting to report.

  20. livblumer says:

    Quite a coup catching that bobcat. A couple of years ago we had one who would take same path every morning and evening (a veritable commuter). Haven’t seen him in a year or more though.

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Maybe he/she moved over here! Last sighting was a couple of years ago by the river in summer with the cutest kit you’d ever hope to see. Delightful!

  21. Paula Peeters says:

    Thanks for the great pictures. Terrific to see a bobcat, and those turkeys are fabulous birds. We have turkeys here too, but of a very different, mound- nesting variety.

  22. Sharon says:

    I saw a group of wild turkeys from a distance in an empty field the other day. One male was displaying his feathers and strutting his stuff — I SO wanted to see it up close.

    Now, after viewing your images, I feel as if I have!

    Fantastic images!

    Thank you, Eliza. 🙂

  23. mfryan says:

    What a character that turkey is! Never thought they’d be so colorful.

  24. Walking My Path: Mindful Wanderings in Nature says:

    Great shots! I haven’t been able to get close enough for turkeys or bobcats. I have only seen 2 bobcats in our 11 years here. We have turkeys and my husband can call them in, but so far, no pictures..Good for you!!

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