Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving all, and here's a wild turkey story

Happy Thanksgiving, all. Go Lions.

With Thanksgiving tomorrow, here's a great story to share. I'm a turkey hunter, and wild turkey is one of my favorite meals. Maybe we'll have a longer season after more stories like this piece from the Wall Street Journal via Chicago Tribune.

One for 'The Birds': Wild turkeys attack people

In April, Will Millington was riding his dirt bike down a narrow trail in Norman, Okla., when he stopped before a flock of wild turkeys. The hens scattered, but two toms flared their feathers and stalked toward him. Then they suddenly leapt in the air, beat Mr. Millington with their wings and tried to scratch him with the sharp spurs on the backs of their legs.

Mr. Millington frantically revved his bike's motor. Thirty yards down the trail he looked back. "They were running after me," says the 46-year-old property manager. "That was kind of spooky."

As Americans prepare to eat some 46 million domestic turkeys slaughtered for Thanksgiving, their wild cousins are fighting back. The explosion of the wild-turkey population to nearly seven million from just 30,000 in the 1930s has put a growing number of humans in the face of angry gobblers.

The more they are around us, the less they are afraid.

Wild-turkey flocks have a pecking order. If they live around humans, some of the dominant toms may begin to include people in that order — at a level below themselves, says Jim Cardoza, a turkey expert at the Massachusetts wildlife agency. Wild turkeys "get used to people and incorporate them into their view of society," he says. Some behavior, such as putting out bird food and slinking quietly away, can encourage these lordly males to think that humans are a subservient life form, believes Mr. Cardoza.

Biologist James Earl Kennamer, senior vice president of the National Wild Turkey Federation, an Edgefield, S.C., hunters' group, has studied wild turkeys for 40 years. "When they think you're one of them, they'll fight you to show who's dominant," he says. "If you turn your back, they'll take it to mean they're dominant."

Tom turkeys in suburban woods can be 4 feet tall, weigh 25 pounds and run 20 miles per hour for short bursts. Mr. Cardoza advises people to show the birds who's boss. One tip is to carry an umbrella to poke at the turkey. Ms. Huckery tells people to "get your broom and swat the turkey away." Other tips for discouraging turkeys include spraying them with a garden hose, yelling and banging pots and pans, and having a dog in the backyard.

I disagree. I think you all should fatten them up with good bird feed, and send them to my hunting area in the fall and spring so I can get a good Thanksgiving meal!!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The turkeys, on the other hand, may be right. They may be superior to us.