A Mother Watching Her Young
The following singular instance of the far-sighted watchfulness of the
turkey-hen over her young is narrated by a French priest. "I have heard,"
he says, "a turkey-hen, when at the head of her brood, send forth the most
hideous scream, without being able to perceive the cause; her young ones,
however, immediately when the warning was given skulked under the bushes,
the grass, or whatever else seemed to offer shelter or protection.
even stretched themselves at full length on the ground, and continued
motionless as if dead. In the meantime the mother, with her eyes directed
upwards, continued her cries and screaming as before. On looking up in the
direction in which she seemed to gaze I discovered a black spot just under
the clouds, but was unable at first to determine what it was; however, it
soon appeared to be a bird of prey, though at first at too great a
distance to be distinguished. I have seen one of those animals continue in
this agitated state, and her whole brood pinned down, as it were, to the
ground for four hours together, whilst their formidable foe has taken its
circuits, has mounted and hovered directly over their heads; at last upon
his disappearing the parent changed her note and sent forth another cry,
which in an instant gave life to the whole trembling tribe, and they all
flocked round her with expressions of pleasure, as if conscious of their
happy escape from danger."