Rivalry among the feathered dinosaurs

I lived the first thirty-five years of my life in the center of cities and certainly witnessed or took part in many fights and/or beatings. Now I live in the woods way out on Cape Cod. I have seen a number of fights here, but only two of them involved humans.


Today on our land, just past the end of our main garden, a fight took place between four male turkeys, also called gobblers. Two of the males dropped out of the foray in five minutes, but two of them had at each other as if they wanted to kill. They went on trying to seize each other’s neck or trying to peck hard at each other’s breast and wings for perhaps fifteen minutes. I wanted to interfere but Woody objected. Abruptly the fight ended. One of the males just turned and walked away. The other stood a moment as if surprised, then followed his rival but no longer attacked him. Just shadowed him for some distance to make sure he was leaving the winner’s territory. Then the winner returned, strutted, raised the fan of his tail and strutted some more. He calmed down eventually and went back to foraging on the ground and in the garden.


I wondered if they were fighting for a particular hen or set of hens. The hens with their year old poults choose in the fall a particular male to flock with until spring; however, if a likelier gobbler comes along, some or even all of the flock may desert their first choice and go off with the new male. Usually it’s just part of the flock, but one winter, I saw a young stud seduce the whole following of an aging gobbler.

Or maybe the turkeys were fighting over territory today.


One summer we had two packs of coywolves, one claiming the marsh to the south and other the marsh to the north. Their territories obviously overlapped on our land. We never saw any actual violence but every night they would engage in acoustical duels until the valley in front of our house rang with their high pitched howls. I don’t know how they settled things, but the pack whose territory lay to the south of our house won the territory of the northern pack. Since then, we’ve had only one pack around. One is quite enough.


I am slowly recovering. I’ve had two brief relapses. Walking pneumonia is hard to shake. I’m still relatively low energy, but yesterday I began tentatively to exercise a little. Slowly I’ll try to lengthen and strengthen the exercises, but pneumonia has left me rather weak at the moment. However, I began writing poems this week. I’ve written three new poems– that makes me feel more alive than I’ve felt since this disease hit me. They’re also the first nonTrump poems I’ve been able to write from the election on.   I’m grateful to be able to breathe freely and to have a clear head again.


A friend brought back whitefish and sturgeon from New York along with real New York everything bagels, so we’ve been feasting. I enjoy food again but can’t quite drink wine yet. I drink water with supper; Woody makes me a hot toddy afterward, that helps me talk longer till I start coughing. I drink hot herb tea all day.


I’m reading Nnedi Okorafor’s novel WHO FEARS DEATH. I had thought I’d be on a panel with her on Thursday May 4th as part of a PEN international festival at the New School in Manhattan. I’ll post details on my website soon when the other authors are confirmed.

She backed out, but I’m enjoying the novel anyhow.


We want to get electricity into the greenhouse as tripping over the yellow cord and occasionally blowing a fuse in the house has gotten tiresome.  The electrician told Woody to dig a ditch from the house to the greenhouse a foot deep..  Then he came and said it had to be 17 inches deep.  So Woody had to dig the bloody thing again.  Then while we were waiting for him to come back, the rains came.  So woody had to redig it in part.  Finally the electrician came yesterday and supervised Woody digging it yet deeper.  Then Woody had to fill it all in, very wet dirt, once the power cord was in the ditch.


He pulled something in his back and is in great pain today. He can barely move.


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