Angry isn't the right word to describe a truculent wild turkey. I'm not sure anyone knows whether wild turkeys even feel what we think of as anger. A better description of the large birds that did battle in front of Pamelia and me this week might be territorial. Or mating-obsessed. Or, simply, male.
We heard lots of leaf-rustling and footsteps on one side of our house, went out to check, and saw four male wild turkeys in a pitched battle. Two turkeys were fighting one-on-one; a third turkey joined that bout, then briefly paired off against the fourth male. It wasn't pleasant to watch, but it was a natural part of wild turkey life.
The term "alpha turkey" sounds like the set-up for a comedian's punchline. Nevertheless, the goal of the turkeys' fighting seemed to be to establish a pecking order on the eve of mating. Today we noticed that one of the males was not with the rest of the flock; we guessed that he was the loser of the main bout we watched.
Here's a short video of some of the scuffling. Fear not: You will see no blood. One turkey did end up with a swollen neck.
Notebook in the Works The second floor of this year's Notebook will be out of this world. Visitors will be transported millions of miles into space and back in time 13.8 billion years. This weekend some kids helped us paint the soon-to-be Moon and Sun rooms and we all had a blast—or rather, a blast-off. It's too early to show you photos of what the rooms look like—there's more work to be done, and we want to preserve the element of surprise—but suffice it to say that we had a supernova time. Thanks again to Oberlin College physics professor emeritus and Sun/astronomy expert Joe Snider for joining us and adding his expert insights.
Answer to the Last Puzzler The quote NOT from Rene Descartes was e). Francis Bacon is the one who said, “I will never be an old man. To me, old age is always 15 years older than I am.”
Today's Puzzler Let's do more quotations. Which of these quotes is NOT attributed to Sir Isaac Newton, the discoverer of gravity, the light spectrum and so much else?
a) "To every action there is always opposed an equal reaction." b) "If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants." c) "A man may imagine things that are false, but he can only understand things that are true, for if the things are false, the apprehension of them is not understanding." d) "I can calculate the motion of heavenly bodies, but not the madness of people." e) "Knowledge is power."