Well, I swear, ever since I started WBW, I have seen things I have never seen before. It is like nature is waving a red flag at me and saying ... "Look what I have for you today!" I was already working on my next WBW and was having a hard time getting excited about it. So I took a break and headed out to get bird seed and go to the grocery store. I have to go the back roads to get to the feed store so I was looking for another encounter with one of my favorites, the Sandhill Crane. As I looked out in the fields where I might see them, out of the corner of my eye I saw something moving on the other side of the road. A not so little round ball of a bird was waddling out of the woods into a yard and then followed by several others. At first I thought they were Wild Turkeys, but was aware immediately that they were something I had never seen or heard of before ... not even in pictures. I pulled over (much to the disgust of the big black truck that was on my tail) and opened the passenger window and started shooting. I couldn't wait to get home and figure out what they were. So let me introduce you to the:
Helmeted Guinea-Fowl (Numida meleagris)
The Guinea-Fowl breeds in Africa, mainly south of the Sahara and has also been introduced in a variety of other countries including the US. They make their way through the Savannah and the bush eating insects and seeds. They are particularly well suited to consuming massive quantities of ticks, which might otherwise spread Lyme disease. I don't know if these were domesticated birds belonging to someone along the road I was traveling or if they had been released by the forest service to help eradicate the infestation of ticks we have in our rural and forest preserve areas. Which ever it is, I was thrilled to find them and share them with you.