Date: 2/22/21 4:50 am
From: alison wagner <alikatofvt...>
Subject: [VTBIRD] Virgin-gallop
Good morning fellow nature enthusiasts!

I would like to propose a new category, for a very brief moment in time between civil dawn and sunrise. It will be called virgin-gallop** and lasts for only about 30 seconds. I'll explain...This morning, I had been watching the four frequent-feeding white-tailed deer (Odocoileus Virginianus) depart via their well-packed trail from the edge of the west side of my yard back into the woods. (One is clearly pregnant, and the two smaller ones are likely the twin yearlings I first met as tiny fawns last summer). In the 20 seconds it took for me to look up the hill on the eastern side of my property, I could see the long weaving skein of 29 turkeys (Meleagris Gallopavo) hustling down the slope, mostly staying on top of the deep snow, but occasionally breaking through into the deep powder, their bellies keeping them from totally disappearing. Like the second seating in a classy restaurant, I was witnessing the change in customers . Unfortunately, this morning I was TOO LATE! I had missed virgin-gallop, that moment in time when I quickly scramble to restock the produce section, broadcasting black oil sunflower seeds and cracked corn in the yards and driveway. The turkeys in their usual sky-is-falling state of panic, when I open the door, dispersed in every direction, like a splash you'd get when tossing a rock in a pool of water. Frantic wings flapping, they took off, seemingly not really knowing where they were headed, except for the cover of the tall pines everywhere, where they magically vanished. That was thirty minutes ago. Like the Munchkins of Oz, they are now tentatively coming back, one cautious step at a time, from all directions, some calling, most silent... finding their breakfast has been delivered.

**awaiting Ian Worley's approval of this new category

Ali Wagner
Huntington VT
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