“Stranger in town” takes up residence in Badger

This Helmeted guinea fowl showed up in Badger, Minn., on June 26, 2020, and continues to be quite an attraction around town. He has been given the nane “Waldo”.

It was on June 26, 2020, when Badger residents first noticed there was a “stranger in town”. Making his presence known around town ever since, he’s become somewhat of a celebrity. Numerous photos have been taken of him including postings on Facebook.

Last week I visited with residents Peggy and Orin Swart as well as Sara Carpenter and her children, Aidan and Delyla, to find out more about this new- comer who fits the description of a Helmeted guinea fowl.

“We call him ‘Waldo’,” Sara Carpenter said. “The family of crows we’ve had as residents in our backyard for the past number of years are not fans of the new resident.

“Our dog, Lucky, is also not quite sure what to think of this new resident. He and Waldo have had a few staring standoffs. Any time we ask him where that birdie is, he immediately runs to the window to see if Waldo is in our yard. As long as the bird is off our property, Lucky is fine, but the moment he starts wandering around our yard, his guard dog tendencies come out and he needs to save us all from Waldo!”

Peggy Swart mentioned that when she and Orin lived in Wyoming, the people they worked for raised this breed of guinea fowl.

“Their eggs are a bit smaller than a chicken egg. The babies are called ‘keets’. They are also known as not being good mothers,” she remarked. “Once the keets are hatched, they are pretty much on their own. The mother may lead them out into the tall grass or woods and basically ignore them. Many don’t return.

“If something terrible were to happen to either the male or female in the partnership it is unlikely the remaining Guinea fowl will take another partner, instead preferring to spend their remaining days alone.”

Peggy added that it is very difficult determine the sex of the birds. The male is slightly larger and has a larger crest on the top of his head. When the females are being vocal, it sounds as if they are saying ‘“buckwheat”.

For the last two weeks or so, Waldo has tended to stay in the same area of residences along North Main Street while before he seemed to wander around the town.

This guinea fowl is a real “noise box”. The sounds he makes goes from loud cheeping to screeching and will “alarm” when anything out of the ordinary comes around.

Come evening, Waldo goes to roost for the night. At 5:30 in the morning, he is awake and ready for another day.

Residents have commented that this is one instance where one doesn’t care to have him outside their bedroom window in the mornings!

To see the complete story, read the July 22 issue of The Tribune in print or online.

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