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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Turkey tries to gobble cars

Monday, September 22, 2003

This wild turkey was seen on north Kennedy's Crossing Road. It would charge at and chase passing cars.

There were reports of wild turkeys attacking vehicles on Kennedy's Crossing Road last Friday. It was speculated that some mother hens may be protecting their nests. After investigating, it was determined that, while the accusations were not completely accurate, there definitely was fowl play by one of the gangly, warble toned creatures.

A turkey was spotted about a mile north of Northview High School casually meandering about the premises of Paul and Pam Malone. This bird was seen charging at passing vehicles, just to the road's edge, then running along side the vehicle, like a dog chasing a car.

Amanda Malone, 11, said that the nearly 3-foot-tall bird lives in the woods near her house. Her dad puts food out sometimes when feeding their dogs and the turkey comes around their yard frequently. She and her brother, Matt, consider the bird to be like a pet. Amanda said she's never seen the turkey attack a car. But it does wander back and forth across the street and walks up and down the narrow, curvy road causing her to fear for the bird's safety.

Pam Malone said the turkey has been there about three months. They don't know where it came from. According to Pam it doesn't cause them any trouble.

Cindy Beck, of Lynch's Mums Garden, which is about a half mile north of the High School, said there is a family of four turkeys living in the woods near their place. Cindy's daughter and grandson, Erica and Jacob Chessman, frequently visit Cindy at her home next to the Mum Garden.

Erica said when driving to her moms last Friday, a turkey stood in the middle of the road necessitating her to stop.

"The turkey was not afraid of me at all," Erica said. "I honked and yelled at the bird but it just stood there and looked at me for several minutes. It finally just sauntered off. I've never seen the birds attack anyone, though. I don't consider them to be a threat to people. But standing in the road like that, I suppose it could be a danger to traffic."

"The traffic's a danger to traffic," her mother interjected adamantly. "This is a country road. Dogs, cats, deer, squirrels as well as turkeys are frequently crossing this road. And people know that.

"The posted speed limit is 35 miles per hour," Cindy continued. "The way they speed down this road , that's a danger. If they went 35 they'd able to stop before hitting an animal or wrecking."

Indiana Conservation Officer Paul Harden was consulted about the turkeys and was asked if turkeys were normally aggressive.

"Turkeys are a goofy animal," Harden said. "You never know for sure what a turkey's going to do. I'm no biologist," he continued, "but most of what I know about turkeys I learned from biologists.

"Turkeys are so stupid that when it rains and they get tapped on the head they'll look up to see what it is and keep looking up until they drown."

Harden said he doubted that the turkey's were protecting a nest of babies because their breeding season is normally in the spring. As to where the birds came from, Harden said there has always been a few turkeys in the state.

"But the numbers were getting low," he explained. "About 10-12 years ago, maybe longer, the Department of Natural Resources Division of Fish and Wildlife decided to increase the numbers. Indiana had a large quantity of grouse. We traded grouse to, I believe, Missouri in exchange for some of their wild turkeys. That's how the turkey was reintroduced in this area but I thought they stocked them around the Rio Grande Road near Vigo County. I guess they can travel. They're so dumb, though, it's a wonder they can make it on their own."

Watching the turkey strut down the highway looking like a triple chinned fat man walking on stilts, it appeared more arrogant than stupid. It brought to mind the car insurance commercial of the squirrel running out in front of a vehicle causing the motorist to swerve the car and crash. Another squirrel comes out and the two animals laugh and high five each other for a job well done. It makes one wonder who's really the turkey here.

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