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A Rare Gift - Bodega Forest Creatures at Play

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A Rare Gift - Bodega Forest Creatures at Play

By Annie Murphy Springer

Last week on an exquisite clear and sunny Bodega day as I neared my art studio, I heard a commotion on the neighboring sheep ranch meadow.

As I rounded an ancient virgin Redwood tree, less than 10 feet away, I saw about 30 wild turkeys in a Spring mating orgy.

The males were prancing in full tail-spread tail- shaking foot stomping attempts to round up and “capture” the hens. The hens were leaping in the air, squawking. shaking their tail feathers and acting very silly and coy.

This noisy romantic dance went on for about 10 minutes with each Tom chasing 3 or 4 hens in tight circles.

Of course, I have witnessed this scene before

—BUT—

I was not prepared for what followed:

From up the meadow came the sound of thundering hoofs and soon appeared —at full gallop—a young Alpaca leaping high in the air and kicking like young colts or lambs do.

Running as fast as he possibly could, he began to “herd” all the turkeys into tighter and tighter circles...romance took a break as they gathered together, loudly protesting the interruption. He just wanted to play. They didn’t !

For another 10 minutes, he ran in tighter and tighter circles, still at top speed, until he had them corralled into a tight bunch. The turkeys clatter diminished and they moved slowly in one tight crowd seeking an escape position. When the Alpaca began to slow down, the turkeys moved slowly in a cluster. When they saw an opening, they ran for it and escaped .

The Alpaca dropped to the ground with his tongue hanging out .

Then he turned his head and smiled at me. I smiled back.

I knew that I had received a rare and memorable gift.