Wednesday, November 1, 2017

What goes around...

I have been lamenting some brush-turkey damage in the garden recently. Especially when it had been so dry. Watering any plant, was an invitation for them to scratch it up. Because water, brings life to the soil. They're not silly, those turkeys. They gotta eat, and my garden is a good buffet, when times are lean elsewhere.

More recently, we discovered a new ritual they were up to...

Click to enlarge ~ scratching up hill

Mr Turkey was building a nest. He started a line of scratching, where there was leaf mulch to be had (under the trees). He patiently worked his way, up and down, scratching the mulch back to the nest. It was incredibly funny, once he reached the canopy of the trees again - because he'd immediately race back to the nest, like a hungry velociraptor on steroids!

By golly, they look hilarious when they run!

I was lamenting my garden again, when Mr Turkey cleaned-out the leaf mulch under the trees. Because it was my nearby garden bed, he turned to next!

 Denuded of mulch

Luckily the rain had been around, so I wasn't worried about the soil drying out, after he made off with the mulch. But I had to observe carefully too. If the sun decided to come out, for a long stretch, I'd have to get something else to cover that bed. I really didn't want my plants to be set-back, after the rain had finally hydrated the soil again.

 Flooded gully

The rainy weather, ensured I never had to deal with re-mulching for the short term. And Mr Turkey, was certainly a dedicated father, flying over the flooded gully to reach the nest every day. He wanted to add more mulch, to keep the eggs in the nest, dry.

As much as I didn't want him pilfering mulch from my plants, I had to admire his tenacity, to bring another generation of chicks into the fold. I was quietly cheering him on. Crazy, I know! Why would we want more brush turkeys, feasting from our garden.

No longer a mound of leaf litter

Then, one day Mr Turkey didn't return to the nest. Maybe he'd done all he possibly could, and now it was the waiting game for his chicks to emerge? The baby chicks must fend for themselves, once they emerge from the nest. Dad is long gone, by then - and mum left, once she laid the eggs.

When I found holes in the nest, I thought - maybe they had emerged? But something didn't seem quite right. Why had so much mulch been displaced?

Mulch everywhere?

Mr Turkey, always kept a clean operation. We were amazed how neat that pile of mulch, was. It appeared, something else had interfered with the nest. There should have been one hole the chicks emerged from, not three that we found. Nor should there have been mulch strewn everywhere.

It could only be one thing - a goanna must have raided the nest. We get plenty of those around here. Especially at this time of year, when birds are laying.

He worked hard

Sorry, Mr Turkey. You availed much, but you were robbed in the end. I know how that feels. But I get why you're doing it. You've got to live somewhere, and pick the best place you can, to set up the next generation. You're making a living, like the rest of us. I don't begrudge you that. And our garden is pretty cool. No wonder you like hanging out here, so much.

Once I spared a moment, for Mr Turkey's loss, my attention turned to something else...

Organic bounty

The rain had stopped, and the sun made a more regular appearance. I needed to cover my garden bed again. Mulch! What goes around, does indeed, come back around.

Not only did I have the few remains of the wood chips we dumped there - which Mr Turkey saw as an opportunity for a nest, but I also had all this new leaf mulch too.


My beds have been re-mulched again, preserving the moisture all that rain left behind. With summer around the corner, I'm relieved for that. And no doubt, Mr and Mrs Turkey will be finding another suitable location for a new nest.

I saw them in the yard, just yesterday, checking out real estate, under the mulberry tree. I gave them a warning chase, but only because they were a little too close to my vegetable beds. They're not threatened by me at all, because they're always back, a minute later!

March 2016

I wonder if one of these nesting Brush Turkey's, is the one, old Matriarch hen adopted in March 2016? Old Matriarch has now passed on, but the brush turkeys, remain in our landscape. And no doubt, will, for a long time to come.

Growing, brush turkey chick, April 2016

 November 2017 - the resemblance is uncanny

What goes around, comes around - whether it be seizing organic mulch, adopting baby brush turkeys, or tolerating the grown ones in our garden. I guess even Mr Goanna has to make a living too. And his offspring, will be (ironically) preyed upon by the carnivorous birds in our location.

There's still plenty of time in spring, to build another turkey nest. And if I know anything about the brush turkey's in this area, they're as tenacious, as the landscape is challenging. They'll be back...and so will their kids! That's how it's meant to be.


  1. Ha ha that was very entertaining, Chris. We don't have any brush turkeys here thankfully. I have noticed we have had ants inside heading for hubby's honeypot so I wonder if we are in for more rain soon. You would be glad of more I can imagine.

    1. The ground out here, always welcomes the rain, that's for sure! It's annoying when ants come into the house. Some inevitably get stuck in it (the honey, that is) and die. We're fortunate, not to have those particular ant issues here. I can't tell you why? Just about every other place we've lived though, DID!

  2. I haven't seen any bush turkeys around here but I have seen a couple of goannas recently. Like Chel I have been watching the ants and wondering if we are going to have some more heavy rains. Will have to wait and see.

    1. I think the prediction was for heavy storm activity this summer. Maybe not as many, but heavier downpours. I've been watching the ants too, and saw a lot of activity recently. Some of that turned into a send off, for the ants emerging from the nest with wings. So I'm not sure how to read it now?

  3. There are lots of brush turkeys in our little suburban pocket, Chris. We regularly see them crossing the street! We've not had one decide to nest in our year, perhaps our dog keeps them away, but we did have a chick a while ago that seemed a bit lost. A friend of ours in a much more built up area than ours is having all sorts of fun and games with a brush turkey building a nest in her yard, it's doing her head in. No matter what she does, it keeps coming back. They are tenacious alright but they, like the rest of us, have to live somewhere! Meg:)

    1. I know my in-laws in Brisbane, get the brush turkeys too. They're quite cocky - jumping through yards with dogs that will chase them. But they're oh-so clever. Inevitably, they watch for the rituals (when a dog is napping, or they can hear people making noise inside the house) and know just the right time to make their move.

      I find them fascinating, as much as I find them annoying too! But yeah, they gotta live somewhere. :)

  4. Those brush turkeys would drive me nuts! I saw them in action when I was in Qld in 2010, they were everywhere, scratching and making a huge mess!

    Hope you can find a solution to deal with them soon.


    1. It's not so bad in the right environment - tropical conditions for example, where there's plenty of mulch to be had! Plus a nice tree canopy to prevent sun penetration. But we don't quite have those conditions here yet. So when they remove mulch or dig up a plant, it's pretty much dead. Gotta be on our toes!

  5. I will never complain about the rabbits again! Well not much, anyway!

    1. He-he, I know what you're saying. Better the devil you know. ;)


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