Thursday, November 25, 2010

City Turkey

In honor of US Thanksgiving, a snapshot stories about of the urban turkey.  As habitat shrinks due to the spreading of cities, urban turkey's much like their more domesticated brethren, the urban chicken, has begun to move to the cities (many stories such as here, here, and here) and develop a certain air of cosmopolitanism.

:: image via Boston Globe

As you can see, they have learned to assimilate to certain city rules in order to improve survivability.

:: image via Weather Underground

Sometimes, when a bright eyed newcomer isn't familiar with these customs, conflicts can arise.  From the USA Today, 'Booming turkey population ruffling feathers in urban communities' the explosion of turkey populations has inflitrated cities, such as this interloper in Cleveland: "A wild turkey holds up traffic on April 2 near Cleveland, Ohio. An animal warden was able to lure the turkey off the street to safety."

:: image via USA Today

Pittsburgh turkeys seem to occupy the green open spaces in neighborhoods (sort of a more suburban oriented breed).  In 'Turkeys turning into new pest on neighborhood block' showed that although docile, sometimes around Thanksgiving the birds can get surly: "Wild turkeys are not dangerous, but they do have occasional aggression issues. Last June the Pennsylvania Game Commission was called to Panther Hollow in Oakland, where wild turkeys were attacking bicycle riders. There were no reports of injuries to people."

:: image via Post-Gazette

The impacts of these new visitors can be both welcome and disdained, sort of reminiscent of the 'second-rate urbanism' necessary to not ruin the urban ideal.  These laid-back urban birds, being coddled by the locals, are from Eugene, Oregon:  "The local wild turkey population in urban areas has ballooned in recent years, but this is a case of turkeys, turkeys everywhere, but not a bird to eat. Visit the south hills of Eugene and you'll likely see them: wild turkeys in flocks, plucking berries, crossing streets, just hanging out. "Chris Yee of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife says the problem won't stop until people stop feeding wildlife. Yee says turkeys normal habitat is 4 square miles but, "When fed inside the city limits they can limit their use to one or 2 square blocks in a residential area."

Lest we worry about being over-run by the 'farm-grown' varieties, you see the adaptations of the native turkeys (the one to the left, sort of bad ass looking, and reading for blending into the urban realm) the heritage varieties, which have maintained their native camoflague, versus the wimpy, white varieties who are woefully ill-equipped for the urban environment, and will likely end up on somebodies table - sort of a short trip from field to fork.

:: image via Washington Post

Happy Thanksgiving!


  1. I was amazed by that photo of two turkeys using the pedestrian lane to cross the street! All animals, even those that we serve and eat on the table, like turkeys, deserve great respect more than ever. We fail to forget that without these animals, we would probably suffer from hunger.

  2. one scene from Romania, a landscape e-motion :


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