Ake's Pains debuted in the University of Akron Buchtelite in September of 1977. The school's reputation as an institute of higher learning has still not recovered. Ake's Pains returns after a brief 32 year hiatus. It's back, baby!

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Turkey Eyes Are Watching Me (Turkey Update – Part 2)

For almost two years the turkeys have confounded me with their craftiness. Turkeys are extremely intelligent creatures, so much so, that Ben Franklin favored them over the bald eagle to be our national bird.
Over time, I realized the turkeys knew a lot about me. For example:

-         They know I put food out every day.

-         They know who I am. They recognize me as the guy who puts out the food. When they see me from a distance, I get their attention. They look at me with interest, in case I am putting out food.

-         They know where I live. They know I live inside the house and where the door is. They also know that the birdseed is stored inside the house. This is why they knock on the deck door when they have eaten all the food and want more.

-         Because they know I put out the food, they have some affinity towards me. That’s why they respond more positively towards me than my wife, who never puts out any food for them.

-         They believe that when I chase them away, I am only playing a game with them. “That guy would really have to be wacko to put out food for us and then get upset when we eat it, right?” (I told you the turkeys were intelligent!)

And this year, the turkeys have really upped their game. They somehow know what time I put the seed out in the morning, and then sneak in and empty the feeders.  This causes a problem because soon the hungry squirrels and cardinals arrive, but all the food is gone. So, I wait about an hour for the turkeys to be long gone, and fill up the feeders again. But soon, sometimes just ten minutes later, the turkeys suddenly appear and begin munching away.

The turkeys seem to know my every move, but how could this be? The turkeys are far away from my house. If I can’t see them, they surely can’t see me, right? Well, the turkeys may be intelligent, but I have the power of Google.

And it turns out, the turkeys have been watching me like a hawk, literally like a hawk. The hawk has the strongest eyesight of any bird, but just below them, sits --- the turkey. Turkey vision is 8-times stronger than human vision. And maybe with my declining eye-sight, nine-times better than mine. In addition, because of their eye placement, a slight turn of the head provides this amplified sight in 360-degrees. Turkey need this tremendous vision to spot predators, since they can’t run that fast, nor fly that well (Yes, as my backyard as my witness, wild turkeys can fly, Mr. Carlson).

So for almost two years, the turkeys have been spying on me from afar with
Giving me the "turkey eye"
the equivalent of 8X binoculars. Those turkeys were just lurking in the shadows – yes, Turkey Lurkey exists! – just waiting for me to refill the feeders. You might think that with my master’s degree that I would be able to outsmart these birds, but you would be wrong. The turkeys have been laughing at me, if turkeys can laugh, for nearly two years!

They’re watching me
They see my every move
Turkey eyes
They’re watching me
They see my every move
Turkey eyes
They’re watching me
Watching me, watching me, watching me**

It’s no wonder that the turkeys have some type of affection for me since they have watched me put out birdseed dozens of times, which they believe is solely for their consumption. They probably consider me their seedy-daddy. However, I strongly dispute the notice, promoted by my friend Dee, and others on Facebook, that the turkeys “love” me. Nothing could be further than the truth … Whoa! Carol Carpenter’s ghost! What are you doing here?

Why do birds (big ones) suddenly appear
Every time, you are near?
Just like me, they long to be
Close to you

Me: No, no, no, no, no!!!!!!!!!!

That is why, all the turks in town
Follow you, all around
Just like me, they long to be
Close to you

Me: Get out of here now!

Ghost: Hey, you gonna eat that cheeseburger?

Me: Wait? What? … those are my fries!

I repeat: These are not my turkeys and they do not love me. They eat the food that I put out for the squirrels and they are thieves. People have suggested that I try to fool the turkeys by placing a plastic owl or rubber hawk on my deck. I reasoned the turkeys would be too smart to fall for that trick, so I used the most hideous, frightening scarecrow I could find: the cutout I use to promote my book signings. It features three headshots of me. While you might think this is rather egotistical, it was designed by my friend Michael, and the original design
So very, very, scary!
actually had four heads. I told Mike that was too many heads. And as Robert Kraft recently found out, you can have too much head.

But incredibly, this did not deter the turkeys at all. They just went straight past the cutout to the food and started feasting again. I thought I even saw one of the turkeys give the cutout a kiss. But that would be wrong, because the turkeys do not love me. They are not my turkeys and I do not feed them.

It’s a good thing that spring is here and my feeding will end soon. I am dealing with a new rafter of young turkeys, which I assume is the result of rampant hot turkey sex happening in the woods behind my house. Yes, the turkeys are populating, probably because they are tremendously healthy, a result of being very well nourish…. Oh crap!

** based on Private Eyes – by Hall & Oates
*** Close to You – by The Carpenters

Monday, March 4, 2019

Having Too Much Wild Turkey

But let me be clear: I do not feed the turkeys. They are not my turkeys.

Just as the swallows return to Capistrano and the buzzards return to Hinckley, I anticipated the turkeys returning to my backyard this autumn.  Several years ago I was surprised to see a single, scrawny turkey in my backyard. The next year there were two turkeys, then more turkeys, and even more turkeys. Until one day last year when there were 36 turkeys in my backyard. The turkeys are attracted to my yard because I put food out for the squirrels. But let me be clear: I do not feed the turkeys. They are not my turkeys. 

I feed the squirrels and the birds from early November to early April during the winter season here in Ohio. As soon as I stopped delivering food last spring, the turkeys virtually vanished. I might see them occasionally in a nearby field, but nowhere near my house. So, I wondered how long it would take the turkeys to find the food this fall. I thought is was a bad omen that the new critter food I purchased had a squirrel, a rabbit, and a TURKEY on the package. A turkey? You cannot be serious! Even though this technically qualifies as turkey food, Let me be clear: I do not feed the turkeys.               
They are not my turkeys.

I decided to have some fun and have a contest to see who could guess what day the turkeys would find the food. I thought it would take around 21 days, considering sometimes it can take the squirrels a week.  I found it amusing some people guessed only one day and the most popular guess was three days. Well, on the third day, I was surprised to see nine turkeys chowing down on the non-turkey food. Chalk one up for the wisdom of the crowd. But let me be clear: I do not feed the turkeys. They are not my turkeys.

The following week the turkeys showed up often. On Saturday, my wife had to chase them away four times. I thought that was odd because I usually only have to shoo them once. I reasoned the turkeys respect my authority (or maybe my athouratay!). The last time that day my wife ran after them waving a broom. If I could have gotten that on video and posted, it would have received like a million hits. Of course, that would have been followed by one big hit, and would have been my final Facebook post ever. But this is not funny because, Let me be clear: I do not feed the turkeys. They are not my turkeys.

Strangely enough, the turkeys never came around the entire week of Thanksgiving. Did I mention that turkeys are extremely smart animals?
But then there was a shockingly ugly incident the following week. I had chased the nine turkeys away from the feeder and they were headed to the field by the side of my yard, when they encountered my wife’s car parked on the street. The turkeys became fascinated with the car and started marching in a circle around it. I was amused at this spectacle, until the turkeys stopped circling and began pecking at the car. I ran outside yelling at them. They stopped pecking,
but looked confused that I was hassling them for something happening outside my yard. Finally, they retreated. I was concerned that they had knocked paint off the car, but fortunately for me, and the turkeys, the car was not damaged. But, let me be clear: I do not feed the turkeys. They are not my turkeys.

When I told my wife about this, she was furious. She suggested we get a rifle so “she could shoot bad turkeys that misbehave”. Now, under no circumstance can I see this being a good idea. I believe this concept of “bad turkeys that misbehave” is much too broad and subject to wide interpretation, which may be applicable to behavior that occurs inside the house. So, I came to the defense of us, I mean, those turkeys. But, let me be clear: I do not feed the turkeys. They are not my turkeys.

Now I am jealous of the growing popularity of my, uh I mean, these turkeys. I post on Facebook about my book winning an award, and get 12 likes. I post a pic showing that the turkeys pooped on my deck, and it gets 47,200 likes. When I see people, instead of asking how my family is doing, they ask about the turkeys. If I fail to post about the turkeys for too long, I get complaints.                                                                                                                                       
I considered getting the turkeys their own Facebook page, but it would be too embarrassing when they got more friends than me. But let me be clear: I do not feed the turkeys. They are not my turkeys.

Last week, I noticed a car stopping in front of my house and a woman taking a photo. I figured she knew this is the house of the world-famous author, and want to get a pic. I grab my pen so I can give her an autograph, but when I open the door, I realize she has stopped to photograph the turkeys, not my house.
Lately, the turkeys have become a nuisance. I was on an important conference call last week (I work at home), when I heard a steady knock at the door. I excuse myself from the call to see what the problem is. I rush downstairs to see a hungry turkey staring at me through the deck door. When the food runs out food, they knock on this door, and have learned to make it sound like a human knock. I told you they were smart. Then a couple days later, I am working feverishly to get a report done by deadline, when I hear strange
noises outside my office window. I look out to see two turkeys in my front yard feasting at the bird feeder. By the time I deal will the turkeys, the important report is late. But let me be clear: I do not feed the turkeys. They are not my turkeys.

I can now imagine the following discussion:
Boss: Ake, I’m hearing complaints about your job performance.
Me: It’s the wild turkeys, sir.
Boss: Wild Turkey? You are having a problem with Wild Turkey? We’ll I’m enrolling you in our company Substance Abuse Program.
Me: No, not Wild Turkey. I actually have wild turkeys, about 36 of them at my house.
Boss: So, after you drink the Wild Turkey, you actually see wild turkeys? Whoa, that’s a big problem. Now I am putting you in the Severe Substance Abuse Program.
As I try to keep the turkeys away from my squirrel feeders, it appears they are winning the battle. They seem to always be one turkey step ahead of me. Yes, they have an advantage (could they be smarter than me?) and in my next post I will reveal exactly what that is.    
But let me be clear: I do not feed the turkeys. They are not my turkeys.