Passport
Full Episode
My Life as a Turkey

After a local farmer left a bowl of eggs on Joe Hutto’s front porch, his life was forever changed. Hutto, possessing a broad background in the natural sciences and an interest in imprinting young animals, incubated the eggs and waited for them to hatch. As the chicks emerged from their shells, they locked eyes with an unusual but dedicated mother. One man’s remarkable experience of raising a group of wild turkey hatchlings to adulthood.

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Man: DAY AFTER DAY, FOR OVER A YEAR, I SAW NO ONE, EXCEPT MY FAMILY.

IT WAS A FAMILY LIKE NONE THAT YOU KNOW.

BUT I'M A MOTHER, IT SEEMS, AND THESE ARE MY CHILDREN.

AND SOON ENOUGH, LIKE ALL CHILDREN, THEY'LL LEAVE HOME AND I SUPPOSE MY HEART WILL BE BROKEN.

BUT, FOR NOW, THIS IS MY LIFE...AS A TURKEY.

[ THEME MUSIC PLAYING ] Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST JOE HUTTO DISCOVERED A BOWL OF WILD TURKEY EGGS ON HIS DOORSTEP.

DETERMINED TO SAVE THEM, HE OBTAINED AN INCUBATOR, WATCHED THEM HATCH, AND BECAME THEIR TURKEY MOTHER.

FOR MORE THAN A YEAR, JOE WAS A FULL-TIME PARENT AND RAISED 16 TURKEY CHICKS.

THE EXPERIENCE CHANGED HIS LIFE.

THE JOURNAL JOE KEPT OF HIS LIFE AS A TURKEY ULTIMATELY BECAME A BOOK.

THIS FILM IS A REENACTMENT OF HIS REMARKABLE JOURNEY, TOLD IN HIS OWN WORDS.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST VERY RARELY HAVE PEOPLE HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO OBTAIN YOUNG WILD TURKEYS, EITHER IN THE EGG OR AS YOUNG POULTS.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST I'VE BEEN TRYING TO GET MY HANDS ON WILD TURKEY EGGS OR YOUNG WILD TURKEYS FOR DECADES.

THEN THIS LOCAL FARMER WAS ON HIS WAY TO MY CABIN WITH A BOWL FULL OF EGGS.

IT WAS A DELIVERY THAT WAS TO CHANGE MY LIFE IN WAYS THAT I COULD NEVER HAVE IMAGINED.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST MY CABIN IS DEEP IN THE OAK HAMMOCKS OF FLORIDA.

EVER SINCE I WAS IN COLLEGE I'D EXPERIMENTED WITH 'IMPRINTING' -- BECOMING A MOTHER TO YOUNG ANIMALS.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST WITH WILD TURKEYS, I'D ALWAYS THOUGHT THAT IF I COULD GET SOME POULTS TO IMPRINT ON ME AS THEIR MOTHER, THEN I COULD OPEN A WINDOW INTO THEIR SECRET WORLD.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST IMPRINTING GIVES THE OBSERVER AN OPPORTUNITY TO SEE INTO THE LIVES OF CREATURES THAT YOU WOULD NEVER HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO SEE OTHERWISE.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST SOME PEOPLE MIGHT THINK THIS IS A VERY STRANGE THING TO DO.

TO ME, IT WAS A LEGITIMATE AREA OF SCIENTIFIC INQUIRY.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST BUT THIS EXPERIMENT WAS GOING TO LEAVE SCIENCE FAR BEHIND.

FOR THIS TO SUCCEED, I HAD NO IDEA OF THE EXTENT TO WHICH I'D HAVE TO ACTUALLY BECOME A TURKEY.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST I CAME HOME ONE AFTERNOON AND THERE WAS A STAINLESS STEEL DOG BOWL FILLED WITH EGGS ON MY DOORSTEP.

SO I RACED OUT IN THE NIGHT, FOUND AN INCUBATOR AT A FRIEND'S HOUSE, BROUGHT IT BACK.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST I DIDN'T KNOW IF THE EGGS WOULD BE DESTROYED BY TOO MUCH HEAT, OR IF THEY WOULD DIE FROM NOT ENOUGH.

THEY HAD BEEN WITHOUT INCUBATION FOR AT LEAST SEVEN OR EIGHT HOURS, SO I WAS REALLY CONCERNED.

NO ONE'S DONE THIS IN THE WILD.

THIS WAS GOING TO BE DIFFERENT FROM ANYTHING ELSE.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST EACH ONE OF THESE EGGS HARBORS A MYSTERY; IT'S SOMETHING UNTAMED AND VIRTUALLY UNKNOWN TO US, AN EMBODIMENT OF WILDERNESS.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST AND, YES, THIS IS THE SPECIES FROM WHICH OUR DOMESTICATED BIRDS COME FROM ORIGINALLY.

BUT PEOPLE SHOULDN'T MAKE THE MISTAKE THAT THERE'S A SIMILARITY BETWEEN THESE BIRDS AND THE ONES WE HAVE TAMED FOR FOOD.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST WILD TURKEYS ARE SO INCREDIBLY DIFFERENT.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST EACH EGG MUST BE PROPERLY TURNED TWICE A DAY.

I'M TOLD WILD TURKEYS MAKE UTTERANCES TO THEIR CLUTCH.

SO, SECRETLY, IN BOTH WILD TURKEY AND ENGLISH, I BEGAN TO TALK TURKEY.

Hi, guys.

[ IMITATING TURKEY CALL ] ALMOST IMMEDIATELY I STARTED HEARING A RESPONSE FROM THE EGGS.

I WOULD MAKE A TURKEY-LIKE NOISE AND I WOULD HEAR DISTINCT LITTLE PEEPS AND TRILLS COMING OUT OF THESE EGGS.

[ JOE CALLING, PEEPS COMING FROM EGGS ] BUT I HAD THIS PROBLEM -- 25 DAYS AFTER INCUBATION BEGINS, THE MOTHER STOPS TURNING THE EGGS.

BUT I HAVE NO IDEA WHEN INCUBATION STARTED WITH THESE EGGS, SO I HAD TO JUST GUESS.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST BUT THEN, SURE ENOUGH, CRACKS BEGAN TO APPEAR.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST THIS WAS A CRUCIAL TIME.

THIS IS THE MOMENT THAT THE POULTS MUST RECOGNIZE ME AS A PARENT.

IMPRINTING ONLY OCCURS IN THESE FIRST FEW MOMENTS OUT OF THE EGG.

AND THEN, SUDDENLY, THE END OF THE EGG FELL AWAY, AND THIS LITTLE POULT FELL OUT.

AND HE'S WET AND HE'S CONFUSED AND HE'S SCRAMBLING, AND IT'S OBVIOUSLY A DESPERATE TIME.

WELL, I FINALLY REMEMBERED TO MAKE A SOUND.

[ CHIRPING ] AND I MADE MY LITTLE TURKEY SOUND THAT I HAD BEEN MAKING TO THESE EGGS.

AND THE LITTLE TURKEY STOPPED IMMEDIATELY, AND HIS LITTLE SHAKING WET HEAD ROTATED AND HE LOOKED ME SQUARE IN THE EYES.

AND THERE WAS SOMETHING VERY UNAMBIGUOUS TRANSPIRED IN THAT MOMENT.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST AND HE IDENTIFIED ME AS THE... THE PAIR OF EYES BELONGING TO THE CORRECT VOICE.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST AND IN HIS WAY, HE STUMBLED AND HOPPED ACROSS THE FLOOR OF THE INCUBATOR.

AND JOINED ME AT THE EDGE OF THE SHELF AND HUDDLED UP AGAINST MY FACE AND WENT TO SLEEP.

AND SOMETHING ALSO MOVED INSIDE OF ME, SOMETHING VERY PROFOUND.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST AND I REALIZED THAT MY INVOLVEMENT IN THIS EXPERIMENT WAS GOING TO BE A VERY PERSONAL, VERY EMOTIONAL RIDE FOR ME, AND NOT JUST A SCIENCE EXPERIMENT.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST IT HAD TAKEN A DAY AND A NIGHT, AND I WAS EXHAUSTED, BUT I WAS FINALLY MOTHER TO 16 WILD TURKEYS.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST THIS ALL HAPPENED VERY SUDDENLY, AND I HADN'T REALLY ANTICIPATED IT.

I MORE OR LESS JUST DISAPPEARED INTO THE FOREST.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST AFTER A VERY FEW DAYS, I REALIZED THAT THIS WAS A COMPLETE, 100%, RELENTLESS COMMITMENT THAT I HAD MADE TO THESE BIRDS, AND THAT IF I WAS GOING DO THIS, I WAS GOING TO HAVE TO BE A WILD TURKEY PARENT FOR SOME UNKNOWN PERIOD OF TIME.

I HAD NO IDEA IF THIS COMMITMENT WAS GOING TO LAST WEEKS OR MONTHS -- OR, AS IT TURNED OUT, YEARS.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST I AM IGNORANT ABOUT BEING A TURKEY MOTHER.

WHAT DO THEY ALREADY KNOW, AND WHAT DO THEY NEED TO LEARN FROM ME?

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST THEY ARE BORN ENTOMOLOGISTS.

IT'S ALREADY THERE -- THEY DON'T HAVE TO BE TAUGHT WHICH INSECT IS DANGEROUS, WHICH ONE IS PALATABLE.

THEY DON'T HAVE TO BE TAUGHT WHICH SNAKE IS HARMLESS AND WHICH ONE IS VENOMOUS.

THEY KNOW EXACTLY.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST [ RATTLING ] I CAN ALREADY TELL THEM APART.

ONE BIRD I'VE STARTED TO CALL 'TURKEY BOY,' HE'S INTO EVERYTHING.

HE'S INQUISITIVE AND BRAVE, AND HE'S GOING TO BE A HANDFUL.

HE'S ALREADY BEGINNING TO DISPLAY TO THE OTHER BIRDS, AND HE'S ONLY FIVE DAYS OLD.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST TODAY, I ACTUALLY TRIED TO SHOW THEM HOW TO ROOST, ALTHOUGH I SUSPECT THIS IS SOMETHING THEY KNOW ALREADY.

IT'S IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND THESE WILD BIRDS BEAR NO RESEMBLANCE TO THEIR DOMESTIC COUSINS.

IT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A PET DOG AND A WOLF.

THESE BIRDS ARE SO WILD, IF I LEAVE THEM ALONE FOR ANY LENGTH OF TIME THEY WILL JUST RUN AND RUN TILL THEY DROP DEAD.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST THERE'S THIS ONE I'VE CALLED 'SWEET PEA.'

SHE'S VERY LITTLE AND LIKES TO BE HELD IN THE HAND.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST I DID HAVE THAT FEELING THAT THIS RAT SNAKE HAD LITERALLY BEEN WAITING ON THAT MOMENT.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST I WAS GONE FOR A VERY SHORT TIME, GRABBED A SANDWICH, CAME BACK OUT, THERE WAS A SIX-FOOT RAT SNAKE IN THE PEN THAT HAD COMPLETELY SWALLOWED ONE OF THE YOUNG POULTS.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST AND NOW COULD NOT GET OUT OF THE PEN, OF COURSE, BECAUSE OF THE LARGE LUMP IN ITS BODY.

I WAS HORRIFIED, AND THE REST OF THE TURKEYS WERE HORRIFIED, AND IT WAS A TERRIBLE MOMENT FOR ALL OF US.

I REALIZED THAT THESE BIRDS ABSOLUTELY CANNOT BE LEFT ALONE.

THERE ARE SO MANY PREDATORS READY TO STRIKE THESE YOUNG BIRDS.

AND I JUST HAD TO MAKE THE COMMITMENT RIGHT THERE THAT I'M NOT GOING TO LEAVE THEM ALONE, EVER.

UP UNTIL NOW, IT'S BEEN A FULL-TIME JOB JUST KEEPING THEM ALIVE.

BUT NOW MY LITTLE EXPERIMENT IS REALLY BEGINNING TO PAY OFF.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST IT SEEMS AS IF A WHOLE WORLD IS OPENING UP TO ME.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST IT'S NOT JUST THE BIRDS I'M GETTING CLOSE TO -- SOMEHOW, THEY ALLOW ME PASSAGE INTO A SECRET SIDE OF THESE OAK HAMMOCKS.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST THE DIFFERENT BIRDS' PERSONALITIES ARE EXPRESSED IN THE WAY THEY EXPLORE THE FOREST.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST THEY EVEN SEEM TO HAVE THEIR OWN INDIVIDUAL INTERESTS.

SWEET PEA AND ROSITA, FOR EXAMPLE, HAVE A PARTICULAR FASCINATION WITH SQUIRRELS.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST TURKEY BOY MET A DEER TODAY.

I'M AMAZED HOW BOLD HE IS -- HE EVEN WALKED AND WAS NOSE-TO-NOSE WITH IT.

THEY WERE ABSOLUTELY UNAFRAID, THEY ABSOLUTELY KNEW THIS CREATURE WAS A BENEVOLENT NEIGHBOR AND NOT A POTENTIAL PREDATOR.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST AND I THOUGHT THIS WAS A REMARKABLE DISCRIMINATION, CONSIDERING THAT A COYOTE, FOR EXAMPLE, IS A TAWNY BROWN ANIMAL WITH BIG EARS AND AN INTENSE STARE.

WHEN I'M WITH THESE TURKEYS, SNAKES NO LONGER RUN FROM ME.

CORRALLED BY THE BIRDS, A RAT SNAKE NOW TURNS TO FACE US.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST THE TURKEYS KNOW JUST HOW TO DEAL WITH EACH SPECIES OF SNAKE.

IN SPITE OF THEIR INNATE KNOWLEDGE ABOUT DANGEROUS THINGS THEY ARE INHERENTLY DISTURBED BY TORTOISES AND TURTLES.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST THEY JUST WON'T LEAVE THEM ALONE.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST I THINK MAYBE THEY JUST VIEW THEM AS A SNAKE IN A BOX.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST I NOW KNOW EACH OF THE BIRDS BY THEIR CHARACTER AND PERSONALITY AS MUCH AS BY THEIR APPEARANCE.

TURKEY BOY IS STILL UP TO HIS OLD TRICKS -- HE IS ALWAYS PUSHING HIS BROTHERS AND SISTERS AROUND, BUT NO ONE SEEMS TO MIND TOO MUCH.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST SWEET PEA STILL HAS THIS NEED FOR CLOSENESS.

SHE STARES MOTIONLESS AT ME FOR WHAT SEEMS LIKE A VERY LONG TIME, AND IT'S OBVIOUSLY A CONSCIOUS BEHAVIOR.

IT'S AS THOUGH SHE'S TRYING TO ABSORB SOMETHING.

BEING THE OBJECT OF SUCH INTENSE SCRUTINY BY SUCH A LITTLE THING IS A VERY STRANGE SENSATION.

I'D HAVE TO STAY WITH THE BIRDS ALL DAY, EVERY DAY UNTIL SUNSET.

THEN, IN THE CAGE, THE BIRDS WOULD ALL FLY UP AND ROOST WITH ME -- AND ON ME.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST AND IF I TRIED TO LEAVE THE ROOST THEY WOULD TRY TO FOLLOW ME, SO I HAD TO STAY IN THE PEN UNTIL IT WAS COMPLETELY DARK.

THEN THEY WOULD FALL SOUND ASLEEP.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST BUT I HAD TO BE THERE FROM DAWN UNTIL AFTER DARK EVERY DAY, AND THERE WERE NO EXCEPTIONS TO THAT.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST ♪ WELL, I FEEL LIKE AN OLD HOBO ♪ ♪ I'M SAD, LONESOME AND BLUE ♪ ♪ I WAS FAIR AS A SUMMER DAY ♪ ♪ NOW, THE SUMMER DAYS ARE THROUGH ♪ ♪ YOU PASS THROUGH PLACES ♪ ♪ THE PLACES YOU PASS THROUGH, YOU CARRY THEM WITH YOU ♪ ♪ ON THE SOLES OF YOUR TRAVELLING SHOES ♪ THEY HAVE THE BASIC BLUEPRINT ABOUT ALL THE PLANTS AND ALL THE ANIMALS.

IT'S INCREDIBLY COMPLETE.

BUT WHAT THEY DON'T UNDERSTAND IS THE LAY OF THE LAND, AND THAT WAS WHAT I KNEW.

♪ I WAKE YOU UP IN THE MORNING ♪ I KNEW WHERE THE WATER WAS.

I KNEW WHERE THE DANGERS WERE TO SOME EXTENT.

♪ I GOT THE WANDERING BLUES ♪ ♪ AND I'M GOING TO QUIT ♪ WE DIDN'T GO IN THE DIRECTION OF THE ROAD OR TO FARMER RODENBERRY'S HOUSE.

I TRIED TO TEACH THEM THAT AUTOMOBILES WERE A DANGEROUS THING.

THAT WAS VERY HARD TO DO.

WILD TURKEYS ARE A 20 MILLION YEAR OLD BIRD AND THEY DON'T HAVE A BLUEPRINT FOR AN AUTOMOBILE OR A PICK-UP.

[ BIRD CALLING ] EACH DAY AS I LEAVE THE CONFINES OF MY LANGUAGE AND CULTURE, THESE CREATURES SEEM TO BECOME IN EVERY WAY MY SUPERIORS.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST THEY ARE MORE ALERT, SENSITIVE AND AWARE.

THEY'RE IN MANY WAYS, IN FACT, MORE INTELLIGENT.

THEIR UNDERSTANDING OF THE FOREST IS BEYOND MY ABILITY TO COMPREHEND.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST TURKEYS DISPLAYED A TYPE OF OBSESSION OVER THE SIGHT OF A DEAD ANIMAL, AND THEY WOULD REVISIT THOSE SITES VERY CAUTIOUSLY, AND THEY WOULD EXAMINE VERY CLOSELY, AND OCCASIONALLY, THEY WOULD ACTUALLY PICK UP A BONE -- NOT IN A PLAYFUL WAY, BUT IN A CURIOUS WAY, AND DROP IT.

THEY WOULD OBSERVE THE SKELETON VERY INTENSELY.

AND IT SEEMED THAT THEY NEVER TIRED OF EXAMINING THIS DEAD ANIMAL AND TRYING TO UNDERSTAND WHAT THE IMPLICATION OF THAT WAS.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST THAT BEHAVIOR DOES NOT FACILITATE SURVIVAL DIRECTLY.

IT'S NOT ABOUT PREDATION, IT'S NOT ABOUT FOOD, IT'S ABOUT UNDERSTANDING THE WORLD.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST THEY HAD A PERFECT MEMORY OF WHAT THAT ENTIRE FOREST WAS SUPPOSED TO LOOK LIKE.

IF ANY OBJECT WAS OUT OF ORDER, IF A NEW LIMB HAD FALLEN OUT OF A TREE, THEY WOULD FIND THAT LIMB VERY DISTURBING.

THEY WOULD APPROACH A STUMP OF A FALLEN TREE OR A ROTTED TREE, AND THAT WAS A FASCINATING THING, AS MOST THINGS ARE TO WILD TURKEYS.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST BUT, INTERESTINGLY, WHEN WE APPROACHED A VERY OLD STUMP, OF A TREE THAT HAD BEEN SAWN DOWN BY LOGGERS, SOMETHING ABOUT THAT WAS VERY DISTURBING TO A WILD TURKEY.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST I THOUGHT IT WAS A FABULOUS AND INTERESTING RESPONSE, BUT I DON'T KNOW WHY.

BUT HERE WAS A STUMP THAT HAD BEEN CUT 10, 15, 20 YEARS BEFORE, AND YET THERE WAS SOMETHING NOT RIGHT ABOUT THAT, AND THE TURKEYS WOULD FIND IT VERY INTERESTING AND ACTUALLY DISTURBING.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST I WAS ALWAYS A VERY ANXIOUS MOTHER HEN, AND, OF COURSE, HAVING NOT DONE THIS BEFORE, I NEVER KNEW THE RIGHT TIME FOR THINGS.

ONE NIGHT WE CAME IN FROM OUR USUAL DAILY WALK AND I EXPECTED THEM TO ENTER THE PEN LIKE THEY HAD SO MANY TIMES BEFORE, AND SUDDENLY THEIR BEHAVIOR CHANGED.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST AND THEY STARTED EYEING THE TREES AND MAKING SOUNDS.

AND SUDDENLY, A TURKEY FLEW UP INTO A TREE.

AND ANOTHER TURKEY FLEW UP, AND THEY ALL BEGAN FLYING UP.

AND I REALIZED THAT THEY HAD MADE THIS DECISION THAT IT WAS TIME TO START ROOSTING IN THE TREES LIKE TURKEYS.

AND THEY WERE MAKING CONTENTED VOCALIZATIONS LIKE TURKEYS DO WHEN THEY GO ON THE ROOST -- LITTLE COMMUNICATION NOISES, 'HERE I AM, WHERE ARE YOU?' 'OKAY, THERE YOU ARE.'

AND I WAS FEELING A LITTLE BIT LET DOWN AND A LITTLE BIT LIKE I HAD BEEN EXCLUDED.

THIS WAS ONE TURKEY ACTIVITY THAT I COULDN'T PARTICIPATE IN, AND I FELT LIKE I HAD BEEN LEFT OUT.

AND I WENT OUT FEELING INSECURE, AND I MADE A LITTLE TURKEY NOISE -- A LITTLE MOTHER HEN NOISE.

[ GOBBLES ] AND SUDDENLY EVERYBODY CHATTERED, 'HERE WE ARE, EVERYTHING IS OKAY.'

[ TURKEYS SQUAWKING ] Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST [ SUSTAINED SQUAWK ] TURKEYS IN GENERAL HAVE THIS MISPLACED REPUTATION FOR STUPIDITY.

THIS EXPERIMENT OF MINE HAS PROVEN QUITE THE OPPOSITE.

THERE ARE MANY THINGS THAT SUGGEST THAT WILD TURKEYS ARE INTELLIGENT.

BUT MY EXPERIENCE WITH LEARNING THEIR VOCABULARY HAS TAUGHT ME HOW PROFOUND THIS INTELLIGENCE ACTUALLY IS.

YOU HAVE TO BE THIS CLOSE TO A CREATURE TO UNDERSTAND HOW IT COMMUNICATES.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST AND, IN FACT, THEY HAVE SPECIFIC VOCALIZATIONS FOR INDIVIDUAL ANIMALS.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST AND I ACTUALLY LEARNED THESE VOCALIZATIONS, AND WHEN I WOULD HEAR A CERTAIN VOCALIZATION, I WOULD KNOW WITHOUT QUESTION THEY HAD FOUND A RATTLESNAKE, AND NOT A GRAY RAT SNAKE.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST I HAVE IDENTIFIED OVER 30 SPECIFIC CALLS, AND MY VOCABULARY IS GROWING EVERY DAY.

I AM LEARNING TO TALK TURKEY.

[ MAKING TURKEY CALLS ] Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST INTERESTINGLY, I LEARNED THAT, WITHIN EACH ONE OF THOSE CALLS THERE ARE INFLECTIONS THAT HAVE VERY DIFFERENT MEANINGS.

FOR EXAMPLE, ONE WOULD BE WHAT IS KNOWN AS A PURR.

[ COOING ] [ CONTINUES CALL ] MANY DIFFERENT MEANINGS DEPENDING ON THE INFLECTION, FROM SIMPLY, 'HERE I AM, WHERE ARE YOU?'

TO, 'CATASTROPHE IS ON THE WAY.'

[ CALLING ] A SIMPLE PLAIN YELP -- [ YELPING ] THAT WOULD MEAN YOU ARE OUT OF SIGHT NOW, AND YOU NEED TO COME CLOSER.

WHEN TURKEYS SEE A HAWK SOARING IN THE DISTANCE, AND THEY'RE NOT REALLY DISTURBED BY THE HAWK'S SOARING, BUT THEY WANT EVERYBODY TO KNOW IT'S THERE, AND SO THEY EMIT WHAT I CALLED A LOW NASAL WHINE, AND IT'S -- [ IMITATING CALL ] Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST AND IT CAUSES EVERYONE TO BE STILL AND VERY QUIET.

[ WHISTLING ] I DIDN'T HAVE THE CAPACITY TO UNDERSTAND EVERY VOCALIZATION, BUT SOMEHOW I HAD THE CAPACITY TO UNDERSTAND THEIR MEANING, AND THAT WAS AN ALMOST MAGICAL THING THAT OCCURRED WITH THESE YOUNG BIRDS.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST THEIR LANGUAGE AND THEIR UNDERSTANDING OF THE ECOLOGY SHOWS A REMARKABLE INTELLIGENCE.

BUT THEIR ABILITY TO UNDERSTAND THE WORLD GOES MUCH FURTHER THAN JUST COMMUNICATION.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST I CAME TO REALIZE THAT THESE YOUNG TURKEYS IN MANY WAYS WERE MORE CONSCIOUS THAN I WAS.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST I ACTUALLY FELT A SORT OF EMBARRASSMENT WHEN I WAS IN THEIR PRESENCE.

THEY WERE SO IN THE MOMENT.

AND, ULTIMATELY, THEIR EXPERIENCE OF THAT MANIFESTED IN A KIND OF JOY THAT I DON'T EXPERIENCE.

AND I WAS VERY ENVIOUS OF THAT.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST IN SEARCH OF A GRASSHOPPER -- IT'S A CALLING AS STRONG AS ANY I'VE EVER KNOWN.

THEY ARE ALMOST THREE MONTHS OLD, AND I FIND MYSELF A FULLY FLEDGED MEMBER OF A TURKEY GANG.

WE RAID THE FIELD LIKE ANCIENT MARAUDING BARBARIANS.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST INSECTS CAN HOP OR RUN AWAY, BUT THEY ARE LIKELY TO LAND AT THE FEET OF ANOTHER -- THIS IS A STRATEGY THAT MUST OCCUR WITH TURKEYS EVERYWHERE.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST THIS IS INNATE COMMUNICATION UNLIKE ANY I'VE EVER KNOWN.

I FEEL A LITTLE LIKE AN ANTHROPOLOGIST WHO, AFTER IMMERSING HIMSELF IN AN EXOTIC TRIBE, IS BECOMING CONFUSED ABOUT HIS OWN SOCIAL IDENTITY.

I HAVEN'T STARTED EATING GRASSHOPPERS YET, BUT THE SMOOTH GREEN ONES ARE BEGINNING TO LOOK PRETTY TASTY!

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST [ COOING ] Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST AFFECTION IS A VERY ABSTRACT CONCEPT, ANYWAY, AND VERY HARD TO TALK ABOUT.

AND YET I WAS OBSERVING THIS EVERYDAY, THIS NEED FOR THESE TURKEYS TO BE TOUCHED, AND FOR CLOSENESS.

AND SO, IN THAT SENSE, WILD TURKEYS ARE VERY AFFECTIONATE AND THEY ARE VERY TACTILE.

I SAW IT MOST PROFOUNDLY IN SWEET PEA.

FROM VERY EARLY ON, SWEET PEA HAD THIS OVERWHELMING DESIRE TO BE CLOSE AND TO BE TOUCHING, AT ALL TIMES.

AND THERE WAS NEVER A TIME WHEN I WAS SITTING ON THE GROUND WHEN SWEET PEA WASN'T IN MY LAP.

AND IF I SAT THERE, SWEET PEA WOULD GO TO SLEEP, AND SHE EXPECTED TO BE STROKED AND CODDLED.

AND IT WAS A VERY INTERESTING RELATIONSHIP.

AND, OF COURSE, I FELL FOR IT HOOK, LINE AND SINKER, AND JUST FELL HEAD OVER HEELS IN LOVE WITH SWEET PEA.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST AFFECTION IS SOMETHING YOU WOULD NEVER ANTICIPATE OR EXPECT FROM WILD TURKEYS, AND YET, IT WAS VERY APPARENT THAT THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT PART OF THEIR SOCIAL LIFE.

[ CAWING ] Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST TODAY I LOST TWO BIRDS TO SOME UNKNOWN ILLNESS.

AND I FEEL HEARTBROKEN.

THERE IS NO QUESTION ABOUT MY CONNECTION TO THIS FAMILY.

AND THERE IS NO QUESTION WE ALL FEEL SOME DEEP SADNESS.

THE EFFECT ON THE GROUP IS PALPABLE.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST EMOTIONS ARE CERTAINLY NOT PECULIAR TO THE HUMAN EXPERIENCE.

IN THEIR OBSERVATION OF DEATH, THE DEATH OF ANOTHER TURKEY THAT IS A MEMBER OF THEIR GROUP, IT'S A VERY CONSCIOUS BEHAVIOR, AS IF THEY ARE TRYING TO UNDERSTAND WHAT THE MEANING OF THIS IS.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST SHELTER FROM THE RAIN ON MY PORCH OF MY HUT IS ONE OF THE FEW PERKS THESE BIRDS HAVE GOTTEN FROM HAVING SUCH AN ODD PARENT.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST IT SEEMS A LONG TIME HAS PAST SINCE I TENDED THESE BIRDS FROM THE EGG.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST I'VE WALKED THESE OAK HAMMOCKS FOR OVER 20 YEARS AND I HAD NO IDEA HOW MANY RATTLESNAKES THERE WERE HERE.

I'D SEE MAYBE TWO IN A YEAR.

NOW, WITH THESE TURKEYS, WE'RE FINDING TWO OR THREE EVERY DAY.

TODAY WE CAME ACROSS A SIX-FOOT DIAMONDBACK.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST I USED TO FEAR FOR THEM TERRIBLY, BUT NOW THERE'S NO QUESTION WHO'S IN CHARGE.

SWEET PEA AND ROSITA WERE INSISTENT -- THEY WANTED TO ESCORT THIS RATTLESNAKE OUT OF THE AREA.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST THE NON-VENOMOUS INDIGO SNAKE GOT AN EVEN CLOSER INSPECTION FROM TURKEY BOY.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST THIS KIND OF INTENSE INTERACTION IS BORN FROM A DESIRE TO REMAIN IN TOUCH WITH A POSSIBLE PREDATOR... ALTHOUGH SOMETIMES IT DOES FEEL LIKE IT'S BECOME A BIT OF A GAME FOR THEM.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST I HAD NEVER CONSIDERED THAT THE WILD TURKEY WAS A PLAYFUL BIRD, BUT, IN FACT, THEY ARE PLAYFUL.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST THEY'RE CURIOUS ABOUT THINGS THAT DON'T BENEFIT THEIR SURVIVAL DIRECTLY.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST ♪♪ Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST THE WHITE-TAILED DEER HAS FAWNED LATE THIS YEAR, AND, AS ALWAYS, TURKEY BOY IS VYING FOR SOME REACTION.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST BUT THIS TIME HE HAS BITTEN OFF MORE THAN HE CAN CHEW.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST THE YOUNG DEER CAN GIVE AS GOOD AS SHE GETS!

[ MUSIC PLAYING OVER ] Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST ♪ WHOO! WHOO! ♪ ♪ WHOO! WHOO! ♪ Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST SWEET PEA'S FAVORITE IS FAR MORE AMIABLE.

THE FOX SQUIRREL SEEMS TO WANT TO PLAY AS MUCH AS SHE DOES.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST THERE'S NO QUESTION IN MY MIND THAT THESE BIRDS EXPERIENCE JOY IN THEIR LIVES.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST I WAS LEARNING NEW THINGS ABOUT TURKEYS EVERY DAY, BUT THIS WAS NOT JUST ABOUT HOW THEY LIVED THEIR LIFE -- THESE ANIMALS WERE SHOWING ME HOW TO LIVE MY LIFE, ALSO.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST WE DO NOT HAVE A PRIVILEGED ACCESS TO REALITY.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST SO MANY OF US LIVE EITHER IN THE PAST OR IN THE FUTURE, AND BETRAY THE MOMENT.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST AND IN SOME SENSE, WE FORGET TO LIVE OUR LIVES.

AND THE WILD TURKEYS WERE ALWAYS REMINDING ME TO LIVE MY LIFE.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST I THINK AS HUMANS WE HAVE THIS PECULIAR PREDISPOSITION TO BE ALWAYS THINKING AHEAD AND LIVING A LITTLE BIT IN THE FUTURE, ANTICIPATING THE NEXT MINUTE, THE NEXT HOUR, THE NEXT DAY, AND WILD TURKEYS DON'T DO THAT.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST THEY ARE CONVINCED THAT EVERYTHING THAT THEY NEED, ALL THEIR NEEDS WILL BE MET ONLY IN THE PRESENT MOMENT AND IN THIS SPACE.

AND THE WORLD IS NOT BETTER A HALF A MILE THROUGH THE WOODS, IT'S NOT BETTER AN HOUR FROM NOW, AND ITS NOT BETTER TOMORROW -- THAT THIS IS AS GOOD AS IT GETS.

AND, SO, THEY CONSTANTLY REMINDED ME TO DO BETTER, AND TO NOT LIVE IN THIS ABSTRACTION OF THE FUTURE -- WHICH, BY DEFINITION, WILL NEVER EXIST.

AND, SO, WE SORT OF BETRAY OUR LIVES IN THE MOMENT.

AND THE WILD TURKEYS REMINDED ME TO BE PRESENT, TO BE HERE.

[ CALLING ] Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST FOR OVER A YEAR, DAY AFTER DAY WE NEVER SAW ANOTHER HUMAN BEING... WHICH WAS PERFECT.

BUT AS THE YEAR WORE ON I COULD FEEL ONE DAY SOON I WOULD WALK HOME ALONE.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST IT WAS LATE AFTERNOON, I WAS SITTING IN THE THICK FOREST WITH SWEET PEA.

WE SUDDENLY REALIZED THAT THERE WERE NO TURKEYS AROUND US.

THEN WE STARTED LOOKING, AND WE REALIZED THAT THERE WERE NO TURKEYS IN THE AREA.

[ CALLING ] SWEET PEA BECAME VERY CONCERNED.

AND SHE ACTUALLY STARTED LOST-CALLING.

[ CALLING ] Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST AND SO WE WALKED MAYBE A QUARTER OF A MILE, AND FINALLY WE SAW TURKEYS UP IN THE DISTANCE.

AND I THOUGHT THIS WAS REALLY STRANGE.

AND I DECIDED, OKAY, WE'RE GOING TO HEAD BACK TOWARDS HOME, AND I TURNED TO LEAVE.

NO ONE FOLLOWED ME.

AND, IN FACT, THEY STARTED HEADING OUT IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION.

IN FACT, THERE WAS A FARM IN THAT DIRECTION, THAT HAD YARD DOGS AND ALL SORTS OF THINGS THAT WE DIDN'T WANT TO ENCOUNTER.

AND I COULD NOT GET THE BIRDS TO LISTEN TO ME, THEY WOULD NOT FOLLOW FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER.

AND I BECAME VERY DISTURBED.

AND I LOST-CALLED AND ALL THE VOCALIZATIONS I NEED TO EMPLOY, AND THEY WOULD NOT -- THEY WOULD CHATTER ACKNOWLEDGEMENT, BUT THEY WOULDN'T FOLLOW ME.

AND BY THIS TIME I WAS JUST A NERVOUS WRECK, I WAS EXHAUSTED, I DIDN'T KNOW WHAT WAS GOING ON, AND I THOUGHT, I'VE LOST THESE BIRDS, I'M NOT GOING TO BE ABLE TO GET THEM BACK.

AND I DID NOT WANT THIS TO END LIKE THIS.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST EVENTUALLY I TRIED THE SAME TECHNIQUE -- GOT OUT IN FRONT, AND FINALLY THEY START VEERING OFF.

AND IT TOOK HOURS TO GET THE TURKEYS TURNED IN THE DIRECTION OF HOME.

BUT I REALIZED THAT EVERYTHING WAS DIFFERENT NOW.

THE LIFE THAT WE HAD KNOWN FOR THE LAST SIX OR NINE MONTHS HAD CHANGED, AND THEY WERE, FROM THAT POINT ON, FULLY WILD TURKEYS THAT CAME AND WENT AS THEY PLEASED.

THEY ALLOWED ME TO ACCOMPANY THEM, BUT I WAS NO LONGER THE PARENT.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST I WAS JUST ANOTHER BIRD.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST [ MUSIC PLAYING OVER ] Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST WILD TURKEYS GROW UP FAST, AND I KNEW MY DAYS WITH THEM WERE NUMBERED.

BUT THESE TURKEYS HAD TAUGHT ME NOT TO BETRAY THE MOMENT FOR SOME ABSTRACTION UP AHEAD.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST ONCE AGAIN, I'M A MAN IN SEARCH OF A GRASSHOPPER.

IT'S A CALLING AS STRONG AS ANY I'VE EVER KNOWN.

THIS MAKES ME WONDER SOMETIMES IF I HAVE GOTTEN IN A LITTLE TOO DEEP.

♪ BUT I TAKE COMFORT ♪ ♪ IN MY HOME, IN MY HEART ♪ ♪ TO MAKE A KIND OF PEACE ♪ ♪ IT'S A KIND OF PEACE ♪ Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST ♪ AND ABOVE ME ♪ ♪ IF THERE IS NOTHING ♪ ♪ AND NO ONE KNEW ♪ ♪ I REALLY CARE ♪ ♪ IT'S JUST A NOW ♪ Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST THE PEACE IS BEING BROKEN MORE AND MORE EACH DAY.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST IT'S NOT JUST TURKEY BOY -- NOW ALL THE MALES PRACTICE DISPLAYING, GETTING READY TO DO BATTLE.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST THE MALES WILL NEED TO FIGHT THEIR WAY TO THE NEXT STAGE OF THEIR LIVES.

ONLY THE TOUGHEST WILL GET TO MATE.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST AND AS THESE PRACTICE BOUTS SHOW, WHEN THE REAL FIGHTING STARTS IT'LL BE FEROCIOUS.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST AS I LOOKED ON, I HAD NO WAY OF KNOWING HOW I WAS GOING TO BE A PART OF THIS RITE OF PASSAGE.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST [ TURKEY CALLING ] Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST IT'S OVER A YEAR INTO THE PROJECT, AND I AM STARTING TO SEE THE BIRDS LESS AND LESS.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST IT'S NATURAL FOR THE YOUNG JAKES TO MOVE AWAY FROM THE GROUP, AND THE HENS, TOO, SHOULD BE DISAPPEARING SOON.

BUT I CAN'T HELP BUT FEEL A DEEP SADNESS -- DAY AFTER DAY THEY'VE BEEN MY ONLY COMPANY.

SWEET PEA, SHE STILL STAYS CLOSE BY, AND TURKEY BOY, HE REMAINS THE CLOSEST OF FRIENDS, BUT SOME OF THE OTHERS ARE DRIFTING AWAY.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST [ CALLING ] Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST AND THEN SOMETHING VERY SPECIAL HAPPENED -- SWEET PEA STARTED NESTING NEARBY.

IF SHE HATCHES HER BROOD WITH ME HERE, IT COULD START A WHOLE NEW AVENUE OF RESEARCH -- A NEW ACCESS TO THE REALITY OF THE WILD TURKEY.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST I HAD NOTIONS OF POSSIBLY BEING ABLE TO DO A PARTIAL IMPRINTING THING ON HER BROOD WHERE THEY WOULD ACCEPT MY COMPANY WITHOUT BEING DISTURBED, AND I THOUGHT THAT WOULD BE A NEW AND INTERESTING PERSPECTIVE.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST EVENTUALLY SWEET PEA DIDN'T SHOW UP ONE DAY, AND I THOUGHT, SHE'S HATCHED HER BABIES.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST EVENTUALLY, I THOUGHT, WELL, I'LL GO AND INSPECT HER NEST SITE.

AND I WENT THERE, AND IMMEDIATELY SAW FEATHERS.

AND I REALIZED THAT SWEET PEA HAD, IN FACT, BEEN KILLED ON THE NEST.

AND THE EGGS WERE CRUSHED AND DESTROYED AND PARTIALLY EATEN.

IT WAS A VERY DISTURBING MOMENT, HEARTBREAKING.

IT MADE ME REALIZE HOW DEEP MY INVOLVEMENT WAS WITH THESE BIRDS.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST BUT WHEN EVERYONE LEFT, TURKEY BOY WAS THE ONE WHO EVENTUALLY CAME BACK.

AND ONCE HE DID, HE NEVER WANTED TO LEAVE.

AND SO WE DEVELOPED AN INCREDIBLE COMPANIONSHIP.

IT WAS CLEAR I WAS NO LONGER THIS WILD TURKEY'S PARENT.

WE HAD ACTUALLY BECOME BROTHERS.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST I'VE SPENT A LIFETIME STUDYING WILD ANIMALS -- BEARS, PRIMATES -- I DON'T THINK I'VE EVER HAD A CLOSE COMMUNICATION WITH AN ANIMAL LIKE I HAD WITH TURKEY BOY.

IT WAS TRULY PHENOMENAL.

AND I RECOGNIZED THIS, AND I SPENT EVERY AVAILABLE MINUTE I COULD WITH HIM BECAUSE I FELT LIKE IT WAS SUCH A RARE OPPORTUNITY.

THE DEPTH OF OUR RELATIONSHIP AND THE EXTRAORDINARY COMMUNICATION WE HAD, AND YET, TURKEY BOY HAD THE ABILITY TO CONVEY TO ME VERY SPECIFIC MEANINGS, ABOUT WHAT HE WANTED TO DO, WHAT HE EXPECTED FROM ME, WHERE HE WANTED TO GO, HOW HE WANTED TO SPEND HIS DAY.

THE COMMUNICATION WAS VERY COMPLETE, IT'S PRETTY REMARKABLE WHEN A MAN AND A BIRD... UNLIKE ANYTHING I'D EVER EXPERIENCED.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST OF COURSE, IT WAS INEVITABLE THAT ALL THIS WAS GOING TO END.

TURKEY BROTHERS STAY TOGETHER.

BUT AS A HUMAN, OF COURSE, I HAD TO RETURN TO MY OWN SPECIES.

BUT NOTHING COULD HAVE PREPARED ME FOR THE FEROCITY OF WHAT CAME NEXT.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST I HAPPENED TO LOOK UP, AND TURKEY BOY'S FACE WAS RIGHT NEXT TO MY FACE.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST AND HE WAS JUST GLOWING WITH THESE VIVID COLORS OF PURPLE AND RED AND BLUE.

AND HE HAD A FIERCE LOOK IN HIS EYE, PREDATORY LOOK.

I THOUGHT THAT WAS STRANGE, AND I REACHED OUT MY HAND AND HE PECKED AT THE BACK OF MY HAND AND ACTUALLY DREW BLOOD.

AND I DIDN'T HIT AT HIM, I JUST PUSHED HIM BACK, WITH MY HAND ON HIS BREAST, GET BACK!

AND THAT WAS THE TRIGGER.

SUDDENLY HE UNDERSTOOD WHAT OUR RELATIONSHIP SHOULD TRULY BE AS BROTHERS.

AND HE IMMEDIATELY ATTACKED ME.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST AND HE JUMPED UP AND HE SPURRED ME IN THE BACK, AND GOUGED ME -- REALLY HURT ME.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST HE JUMPED UP AT MY FACE, WHICH IS REALLY DANGEROUS -- THEY CAN BLIND YOU WITH THEIR BIG POINTED SPURS.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST I WAS BLEEDING -- MY EAR WAS BLEEDING, THE BACK OF MY HANDS WERE BLEEDING, AND SO I JUMPED BACK UP AND I GRABBED THIS PINE BOUGH, AND I SWUNG AS HARD AS I COULD... Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST HITTING TURKEY BOY ON THE SIDE OF THE HEAD, WHICH LITERALLY KNOCKED HIM DOWN.

AND HE GOT UP, HE TURNED AROUND, AND HE RAN OUT OF SIGHT, AS FAST AS HE COULD RUN.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST AND THAT WAS THE LAST TIME I SAW TURKEY BOY.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST FOR WEEKS AND MONTHS, I WOULD GO OUT INTO OUR OLD AREA AND I WOULD GO THERE AND I WOULD SIT FOR HOURS SOMETIMES, FULLY EXPECTING FOR SOMEONE TO WALK IN, A FAMILIAR FACE.

AND NO ONE EVER CAME.

AND, IN FACT, THEIR ABSENCE SEEMED TO CHANGE THE ECOLOGY ENTIRELY.

AND THE RATTLESNAKES SEEMED TO DISAPPEAR.

AND I REALIZED THAT THE TURKEYS HAD AFFORDED ME THIS PRIVILEGED EXPERIENCE, THIS INSIGHT INTO THEIR WORLD THAT HAD FINALLY CLOSED ITS DOORS TO ME.

Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST [ MUSIC PLAYING OVER ] Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST ♪ DOES IT GET LONELY IN THE DAY ♪ ♪ ALL BY YOURSELF ♪ ♪ IN THIS BIG OLD PLACE ♪ ♪ DO YOU EVER COME OUT AND PLAY ♪ ♪ SCREAM OUT LOUD OR WALK THE STAGE ♪ ♪ AND MAYBE YOU ARE LOOKING DOWN TONIGHT ♪ ♪ MAYBE YOU CAN SEE ♪ ♪ BURNING LIKE AN OLD SPOTLIGHT ♪ ♪ SHINING DOWN ON ME ♪ Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST Narrator: IN 1991, WILDLIFE ARTIST AND NATURALIST