While Taking Photos of Bamboo

These three turkeys snuck up on me while I was taking pictures of the bamboo yesterday.  Out of nowhere: GOBBLE GOBBLE. Fortunately, (from past experience) I was sensitive to the tone of those gobbles and the aggressive posturing and knew not to  stick around to chat with them about the fabulous color and texture of the bamboo.  I took off. Running.  And those turkeys were right behind me, as you can see from this shot.  By the time I got in my car, the male was puffed up so huge, I thought he would pop.  He strutted all around my car, back and forth, triumphant.  I’m convinced his two mates were laughing their heads off (at me or him, I don’t know…)


50 responses

  1. Oh my goodness! Territorial turkeys are NOT to be messed with (apparently)….good thing you were able to reach your car before THEY reached you…… 😉

    Pam (and Sam)

    February 17, 2012 at 12:22 pm

  2. Maman

    Melanie!! Of course, I just loved this!! What a great experience. Up close and personal. Hopefully, this is just your first photograph of birds.

    Love, Maman

    February 17, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    • Maman, I thought you’d like this one. It was a little “too personal” for my taste. These turkeys were not pleased about my wandering onto their territory. At first I hoped they were just curious, but it was clear right away that they were NOT. And, yes, I hope, too, to take more photographs of birds.

      February 17, 2012 at 2:16 pm

  3. Glad you made a clean get a away. Good capture.

    February 17, 2012 at 1:29 pm

  4. Love the colours and tones in this shot.

    February 17, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    • Thank you, Lesley. I desaturated to bring out the red, because really that’s what I saw coming at me! 🙂

      February 17, 2012 at 2:18 pm

  5. Love the contrast between the monochromatic image overall and the violent colour in the wattles.

    Interesting that they were so territorial—were they wild? Is it mating season? We have a flock of feral turkeys in our neighbourhood, about a dozen of them, and they’ve never showed the least sign of aggression. But then, people feed them (actually they feed the deer, and the turkeys benefit from it) which might affect their overall attitudes.

    I’ve never managed to get a decent picture of them. But you’ve inspired me to try harder.

    February 17, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    • Thank you for your comment and for noticing the contrast. The red was really all I saw charging me in the woods.

      I’m not sure if they were wild, but they sure seemed to be, and I’m not sure about mating season either. But they were definitely defending their territory.

      I lucked out with this shot because I was literally on the run! 🙂

      February 17, 2012 at 4:25 pm

  6. sandy

    Did you get the feeling that it was their woods?

    February 17, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    • Definitely. I had walked into their territory without even knowing it. They made sure I knew it.

      February 17, 2012 at 4:26 pm

  7. You did really well to escape the tender ministrations of the local bad boys, and get a good shot in the process. Nice desaturation, too–the red wattles really pop!

    February 17, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    • Ha ha ha! Great comment. Yes, I was lucky with this shot! And as I just mentioned in another comment, all I SAW was red! 🙂

      February 17, 2012 at 4:27 pm

  8. Whats all the fuss about….just threaten them with stuffing and bread sauce and they’ll turn tail and run 😀

    February 17, 2012 at 4:38 pm

  9. myfullresearch

    Perhaps they’ll be less triumphant on next Thanksgiving Day !!!
    Nice shot.

    February 17, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    • 🙂 Well, although they don’t know this, they’re safe with me… I’m a vegetarian!

      February 17, 2012 at 8:09 pm

      • myfullresearch


        February 17, 2012 at 8:52 pm

  10. Dad

    I couldn’t resist sending this on to Pete Costenbader, my old Va Beach pal. He used to be the State Turkey Club Chairman, or something like that. He may still go hunting them to this day. Anyway, I always thought that they were very reclusive, so this was a revelation. I’ve only seen on turkey in the wild, and that was at br’er Fred’s Ga home. A huge one crossed the driveway as I was leaving, and he took his time, as if to say he’d kick my car if I challenged him. 🙂

    February 17, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    • There is such a thing as a Turkey Club?! Well, I’ll be sure to tell this crew that next time I see them. Maybe if I give them a “heads up” they’ll cut me some slack.

      February 17, 2012 at 8:11 pm

  11. George Weaver

    I know just how that scene played out! People don’t know how aggressive those dumb birds are. That guy bringing up the rear is NOT a Jake. He’s an experienced gobbler! The mental image of this is just funny!

    February 17, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    • Indeed, the guy in the back had Tom written all over his tail. 😉 And yes, even though it was a bit scary, I saw the humor in it even in the moment.

      February 18, 2012 at 1:11 am

      • George Weaver

        I thought about your story later. You did something with that photo and the simple words that most people cannot do. You transformed a nice photograph of three benign-looking turkeys into a sinister attack. We imagine you fleeing, looking back for a shot. We don’t see the Tom, but we do see him puffed up as if he might explode in rage. We see him stalking you. We see you cowering in your car. You created that mock-heroic scene in a way that was far better than any video of the thing could have been. And you did it so easily. Now, that is called “writing”.

        February 18, 2012 at 2:03 am

        • Thank you, George, for your very kind words and for the attention you gave to my post. It means the world to me coming from you.

          February 18, 2012 at 3:50 am

  12. Hi Melanie
    I was once assaulted by a Greek Turkey,…… on a nudist beach !!!!
    You think YOU were scared!!

    (No worm jokes please). 😉

    Great photo…brave of you to stick around long enough to get it..

    February 17, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    • Stuart, this could only happen to you. I can imagine you had quite a scare! This gives me the very unusual opportunity to share a partially related fact I know. The Greek call turkeys “galopoula”, which means French Bird. I never imagined that I would write that on my blog. Thank you for this opporutnity: Galopoula (γαλοπούλα) 🙂

      February 18, 2012 at 1:25 am

  13. Love it!!
    I really like how the red stand out in the picture!!
    Great capture Melanie! 🙂

    February 17, 2012 at 9:58 pm

  14. Love the photo AND the laugh!

    February 18, 2012 at 12:41 am

  15. dianne - life as i see it

    beautiful image.. but yes run

    February 18, 2012 at 1:00 am

  16. Everyone here has expressed all of what I was thinking and feeling when I read the story behind the image! Holy smokes. When they say ‘Wild Turkey’, they MEAN wild! Your words make this come alive. Marvellous. And thank you for your very kind words on my site, Melanie.

    February 18, 2012 at 2:24 am

    • Thank you, Lance. It was a wild experience, that’s for sure! I couldn’t have been happier to visit your site. It’s a wonderful place, and I look forward to returning often.

      February 18, 2012 at 3:48 am

  17. Nandini

    Beautiful! Their heads just color this grey photo. Loved it! 🙂

    February 18, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    • I’m glad you liked it! Thank you so much for your visit!

      February 18, 2012 at 12:59 pm

  18. that’s a funny story..although I am sure it wouldn’t have looked like one to you then.

    good thing you didn’t try to stick around and find if they were bluffing. goes to show a little attitude can do wonders 🙂

    February 18, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    • I wondered if they were bluffing, but I really didn’t want to risk an attack to find out. 🙂 They can be quite vicious.

      February 18, 2012 at 6:25 pm

  19. What an adventure!
    And you managed to follow the 2 important rules of such an escapade:
    1) DO :: always capture a click
    2) DON’T :: never drop your camera
    Thanks for sharing this story! Glad you are OK 🙂

    February 18, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    • Great comment, Kris! I loved this. I always seem, no matter what crazy circumstances I find myself in, to protect the camera. I could be hanging by one hand from a tree limb over rushing waters, but you can be sure my camera is secure in the other hand. 🙂

      February 18, 2012 at 6:35 pm

  20. Amazing… you captured such a nice moment and composition. Thank you, with my love, nia

    February 19, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    • It was quite lucky under the circumstances! Thank you again, Nia. I am so honored by your visit.

      February 19, 2012 at 6:01 pm

  21. Reading the story behind this put a smile on my face! So funny, yet if I ever were in a situation as this one I think I wouldn’t be thinking much of it as funny until after I saved my own life xD
    Whoever thought there are occupational hazards in photography…

    February 24, 2012 at 8:41 pm

  22. Nice picture, Melanie – the birds’ red wattles really stand out. I’ve been attacked by turkeys too, while sheltering from the rain in a chicken coop – luckily I had a tanklike Gitzo tripod to keep them at bay with! Adrian

    March 10, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    • Yikes, stuck in a chicken coop with turkeys?! That’s quite an image, and quite an experience, I imagine. Glad you made it out okay!

      March 10, 2012 at 12:48 pm

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