Urban Turkeys

We’ve all heard about how Man’s encroachment upon the wilderness is to blame for wild animals’ apparent retaliation upon urban areas.  Some critters have actually benefitted from our encroachment like raccoons, squirrels, chipmunks, groundhogs, foxes, and that’s just a partial list from my own backyard, right in the suburbs of a small Southern Ontario town.  Ranger spotted a deer wandering around his front lawn a few years back, and the wife and I watched a fox settle in for a nap in our backyard.  Later that same Summer we watched a groundhog sunning his belly in our tiered garden. A few weeks ago, the wife and I were treated to a rather pleasant sight.  A pair of wild turkeys  picking at an apple, on the sidewalk of a major street, just around the corner from our house, as traffic roared past.  They were totally oblivious to the activity around them.


This video was taken less than a block from a high school, 2 grade schools, a convenience store, and a busy intersection not 100 meters distant. What fascinates me is how they get to these places.  As mentioned in the posting “Let’s talk Turkey”, I’ve seen them fly.  It’s both awesome and hilarious (who could ask for anything more eh ?).  But it wasn’t until I looked at a satellite view of the town that I realized how they do it.  Raccoons aren’t the only urban sneaks out there.  The silly-ass birds utilize “green corridors” to simply walk into the heart of town, just as Ranger and I use No Exit road trails to penetrate their territory.

That’s how they do it.  They follow a ditch to an “edge of town” park.  Connecting backyards, they hop across a small side street, carry on across playgrounds, follow another length of ditches, through more backyards, until they find themselves in the middle of suburbia by the early morning light.  The next thing they know, there’s a collection of rubber-neckers with cameras (everyone from us, to a town cop) watching them from our cars.  They made soft clucking noises at each other as if to say “Don’t make eye contact.  They’ll get bored and leave soon”.   They were so calm and disinterested in us, we actually became complacent and bored with them so we left.  OK, I became complacent and bored with them.  The Wife would never get bored with seeing a wild turkey, much less two, on the street around the corner from our house, no less.

A few days later I noticed one of the street’s residents had put up a handmade sign warning that their front yard was a turkey crossing.  Though we haven’t seen them since that first time, I like what it says about my fellow small townsfolk. As for why the turkeys were there, we figured it was hunting season and the activity in the bush had chased them into town.  Then again, it wasn’t hunting season when I saw the one hop my neighbour’s fence and make a straight line toward her vegetable garden earlier that Summer.

A few weeks later Ranger and I were cruising North on Campbell Rd when he mentioned how we hadn’t seen any turkeys for near a month.  We turned a corner and what did we see ?  A coupla dozen turkeys just off to the side of the road.  Now this is where it starts getting a little eerie.  A few months earlier, we were heading back into town for lunch when Ranger says “I haven’t seen Old Jack in years, have you ?”  I guessed it’d been a good coupla decades since I’d seen him.  “I wonder how he’s doing these days” Ranger mused.  Ranger’s one of those people who reads the obituaries in the papers, so we knew Old Jack was still around somewhere.  Yeah … he reads the obituaries … that kinda creeps me out too.  I gotta get him a hobby or, better still, a girlfriend.    Anyway, the point is Ranger mentions not seeing Old Jack in years.  20 minutes later, Old Jack walks up to our lunch table and says “Now there’s a motley crew”. And we have a jolly old reunion and chat.

Ranger does this alot.  He mentions not seeing something for years, and it suddenly appears as though by magic.  Animals, people, plants, it doesn’t matter what.  He has this uncanny ability to think of it moments before it appears.  Or, is it that he thinks of something, which then appears (?).  Maybe he’s in control of this thing.   Hell !  I oughta buy a lottery ticket, and get him to casually mention that he hasn’t seen 50 million dollars in years.   This spooky ability is why I distract him when we go over railway tracks.  The last thing I need is him waxing philosophical about his grandfather being killed by a train.  Then mentioning how he hasn’t heard of anyone being whacked by a train in years.

Fortunately, he doesn’t care for disaster movies (we can all be thankfull for that).  Can you imagine Ranger blurting out something like this ?  “Jeez, I haven’t seen a twister divert a tsunami into a volcano’s caldera, triggering an eruption, causing a global earthquake, and reversing the planet’s magnetic field bringing on an instant ice age during an 8th magnitude solar flare  …  in years”.

Don’t even bother trying to run.  Just choose a God and, start praying.

OK, what was it I was going on about ? … Oh yeah, turkeys  Gawd! I swear I’m getting’ worse as I age.  I think that’s all I had to say anyway.  It was cool to see turkeys in town.  Well, better than seeing a bear on your front porch like one of Ranger’s friends did recently.  She doesn’t live in town though so I guess that doesn’t count.



  1. Bushwacker's LilSis · · Reply

    Once again you made me laugh. Gotta love Ranger’s uncanny ability. Maybe next time I am up for a visit Ranger could say something about not having seem Sean Connery in years and then introduce me to him 20 minutes later. As for the wild turkey flock, I’ve not seen any here since summer. I’ve not seen any deer either although they have been ‘sneaking’ onto the front yard and emptying the bird feeders while I sleep the night away. I don’t care they empty the feeders, just wish I could have the pleasure of watching them do so.


  2. John Iafrate · · Reply

    You do know what Shep would do with those wild turkeys….


  3. Anonymous · · Reply

    This is a very funny posting. I was smiling, and found myself chuckling when you describe Ranger’s” abilities”.
    I also loved reading about your sightings of the fox, and the groundhog on your property !


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