Driving up our dirt road this week, I happened upon an interesting sight. In a small clearing in the woods, I had the chance to watch the courtship of a flock of turkeys.
The polygamous gobbler was strutting around, opening and closing his fan-shaped tail feathers in rhythmical fashion. He was all puffed up, calling to the dozen or so hens trotting around him, seemingly impressed by the display.
A little further up the road, I watched a fairly large porcupine waddle through the woods; then it climbed into the low branches of a shaky tree and tried to hang on as I drove past.
Moments like these are some of the things I love about living in Pennsylvania in the springtime.
After months of cold and dreary skies, the dead-looking surroundings become a lush green backdrop for the wildlife, which seems to awaken after a long winter's nap.
In another month or so, we should see poults (baby turkeys) running around the woods with their mothers, along with a menagerie of wildlife. Black bear cubs, born in January, will soon begin exploring the world outside of their dens, while fawns follow their mothers into farmers' fields.
Last spring, I was very lucky to watch a litter of three kits, or young foxes, playing like kittens on the edge of a field, pouncing on each other and rolling around on the ground, while their mother stood watch.
In the same field a few months later, I witnessed a handful of spotted fawns, prancing and playing while their mothers kept a watchful eye. The deer jumped from the hayfield into rows of corn and back out again, seeming to ignore the older animals' warnings.
After about 30 minutes, a loud snort came from somewhere deep within the cornstalks, presumably from an on looking buck. The deer immediately ran away, their white tails bouncing behind them.
We are so fortunate to live in a region where the landscape is painted with forests and fields, and we cross paths with wildlife every day.
Spring is a wonderful time to slow down and take notice.
Certainly, there are wildlife issues, from deer-car collisions to bear-annihilated bird feeders, to the occasional run-in with a rattlesnake, but for the most part, we are all able to live in harmony. Every once in a while we are lucky enough to catch a unique glimpse of Mother Nature's treasures.
As the weather warms up and the flowers begin to bloom, we'll be treated to the flutter of butterflies and hummingbirds over our gardens.
Fishermen might see raccoons and ducks along area streams.
In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, when work and community obligations, sports schedules and family gatherings keep us hopping from one thing to the next, it's nice to enjoy those quiet moments when you can watch a flock of turkeys or a herd deer and just enjoy the outdoors.
Kellie Goodman Shaffer can be reached at Kellie@BedfordCountyChamber.org. Her column appears on Tuesdays.