Corporate Behavior Seen in Turkey Flock
I’m not an animal behaviorist or expert in workplace dynamics, but I’m convinced the term “pecking order” applies to both.
You see, wild turkeys began visiting our yard right before Thanksgiving. (Ever notice how movers and shakers have an innate sense of timing?) The visitors consisted of three females and two young males, reminding me of an entrepreneurial start-up.
We scattered corn and sunflower seeds to entice them, and soon the number had tripled. (Hiring initiative, no doubt) We observed that the females kept the flock in order, communicating with verbal and non-verbal signals. The Young Turks were playful, rough-housing and bonding over birdseed. Collectively, the flock ostracized a few of the smaller birds, keeping them away from the food. Some chased each other and ran in circles. (Office politics, anyone?)
The visitations occurred like clockwork every morning until the day a storm rolled in. Only then did a dozen “Grand Daddies” emerge from the woods. These were big, mature turkeys with plumes of feathers sprouting from their chests. I thought immediately of the parent company, Board of Directors, funders… all wearing corporate ties.
These birds moved slowly, commanding respect as they fanned their tail feathers in full display. One look and the underlings would scatter. Only when the big guys had finished eating did the flock return. We never saw exactly where the upper management team went, but apparently they had drivers waiting.
The birds visited regularly until snow was deep, at which point they took a hiatus. (Condo in Florida or time share in St. Maarten most likely).
Only recently did the turkeys return, and we were happy to see they had survived the weather. (Read that as economic downturn.) We noticed the young males were more aggressive now and sported chest feathers of their own. It seemed like the “girls” were getting only 70% of the seed.
Yesterday, the Chairman of the Board and a few cronies arrived but the flock ventured off to our neighbor’s yard. (Ah, diversification.) Soon, only two were left – the same outliers who had been harassed before.
As the duo grazed heartily, undisturbed, they seemed to grow stronger before my eyes. They gobbled cordially, scratched notes in the ground, and shared the inventory. What was happening became extremely clear: corporate takeover in-the-making.