(If you haven't read that post go do that quickly, because this one will be much more interesting if you do. Okay, did it? Carry on.)
Apparently, this is why:
TMOTH was walking in the back half-acre one afternoon last week and startled a solo turkey hen out of the tall grass. This is most likely the solitary turkey hen I saw in the back half-acre the previous week, spending a good portion of her morning playing Near/Far with the red wagon. Upon further inspection ("Geez, that's weird - a turkey bedded down in the middle of the afternoon...") TMOTH found the above clutch of eggs. There were six eggs at that time and we were a little concerned that she (now dubbed "Gertrude") wouldn't come back.
A quick Internet search explained that a turkey hen will continue laying eggs/leave the nest unprotected until she has laid all her eggs. At that point she pops a squat and stays close for the twenty-some days it takes for the eggs to mature completely.
If you Google "pop a squat turkey" this is the first image that comes up. I don't even know where to start...
Since the typical clutch size for wild turkeys is 10 to 12 eggs, we hoped that Gertrude would come back. So we waited, and waited, and waited.
We never saw her return, but each day there was another egg added to the nest. The last positive count we had was nine eggs, and it seems that in the last two days she has settled down to stay in the nest, which means the count could easily be a total of 11 or 12 eggs. Only time will tell.
In the meantime, we're not going anywhere in the back-half acre for the next month. Maybe if we're good stewards we'll get to see some poults (the proper term for a baby turkey) before the end of May.
This is just what baby velociraptors looked like...except they're lacking the front claws, big eyes, and hunting pack.
Oh, and we still haven't seen Elsie, Hazel and Clarice lately. Maybe they've found their own nesting places?