It seems Andy Ninja is not the only member of our flock to be inextorably drawn to the laundry. Unless you have a passion for turps, detergent or window spiders, there’s nothing appealing in there. But when I arrived home today, look what I found on the bench, gazing longingly through the murky window at the unreachable garden:
For a few minutes, I watched the brush turkey babe desperately pacing the length of the windowsill, hoping against hope that, somehow, against the odds, the glass that had proved impervious for the last four hours would miraculously dissolve so it could fly to freedom. RB had noticed the chick in the laundry in the late morning and tried to shoo it out the open door with a mop but it freaked out so much that he gave up, assuming that with a floor area of 4 square metres and one wall occupied almost entirely by a door, the exit would be obvious. Not so.
I’ve noticed this specific learning difficulty in brush turkeys before. The chicks are so bold and resilient, the adults so quick to locate food of any type and so brazen around humans, that you kind of assume they have the smarts.
Yet I have regularly seen a brush turkey “trapped” inside the veggie garden by my laughably poorly constructed bamboo and chicken wire fence. The fence is a metre high: Snowball the silky bantam could probably jump over it. The brush turkey obviously flew there in the first place. But in a moment of stress, none of these minor details seem to matter. The turkey will run up and down the fence line in a frenzy, as if my flimsy excuse for a fence was the perimeter wall of Alcatraz.
By the time I arrived, the brush turkey chick had exhausted itself and was a doddle to grab. Given the complete parental neglect that characterises the early childhood of these birds, at least I didn’t have to feel guilty about mum or dad abandoning it after a whiff of the garlic-and-epoxy glue stench of my hands.
The chick looks calm enough in the photo RB took, but the shot from our 8 year old’s perspective shows a wild “what the hell are the predators going to do with me?” look in its eye. I don’t think we’ll find it in the laundry again. But then again, thinking about those brush turkey problem solving and short term memory issues, we just might.