01. March 2006 · Comments Off on Turkey Talk · Categories: Animal Stories


Our Wildlife Center is now located in the Oakland Hills and when we first moved here back in 2004, there was a lone female wild turkey living in the area. Seven months ago she had her first nest of babies, only one of which survived to adulthood.

The Wild Turkeys are loved by everyone in the neighborhood. They are watched and cared for by many of the residents on this street. During the holidays, visiting relatives and neighbors from all over the Oakland Hills travel to our little cul-de-sac to watch the wild turkeys. They enrich the environment here and bring happiness to a lot of people on this little street, and beyond.

A few days ago a survey team was here, measuring the property 2 lots away, in preparation for it’s sale. The young male turkey was gobbling at the new people and following them around. The survey team was laughing about it and a few times the neighbors herded the young male away because one of the surveyors in particular was frightened by him and was being teased by his fellow surveyors.

The following day, the survey team came back and as their truck pulled up, the surveyor who had been teased the previous day for being scared of the turkey, hopped out of the car and when the turkey gobbled at him, he pulled out this long metal rod and struck the turkey with the metal rod on his neck and head.

This was observed by a neighbor and the surveyor also confirmed what happened himself, he was openly talking about it, in fact.

Luckily, this happened 2 doors down from our wildlife center and we were alerted to it by our neighbors and collected the turkey for examination.

The male turkey had a swelling on his head and eye, was minimally conscious – head drooping, had raspy breathing and was breathing open-mouthed. The veterinarian overseeing our wildlife center said he had a possible concussion and bruising in his throat. We treated him according to instruction and have had him in care during his recovery.

Into day 3 of his care and his head swelling had gone way down and his breathing was back to normal. He was still sleepy and droopy from the possible concussion but it was also the first day he showed interest in food.

Finally on this sunny day, Wednesday, March 1st, 2006, 5 days after the incident, this boy was gobbling constantly and trying to dig his way out of the enclosure to get to Freedom. His eye swelling was completely down and he had full vision in both eyes again. He was no longer sleepy or drifty and was in fact, very active and eager to get out and on with life. We agreed he was ready.

At noon on this fine sunny day, we gathered and released the recovered turkey back into his territory.

Do I Haaave to go? You Sure?….

Oooo Fooood……

I remember this place!


Freedom feels Good.

See you soon!

On a sad note, the very same day that the beating took place, the mother turkey, being so freaked out by the incident, had an accident and disappeared, leaving only a pile of feathers and many drops of blood. We are anxiously awaiting any news or sightings of her and we hope that the return of her boy to their territory will draw her out of hiding if she is still with us.

The residents of Balsam Way were all united, both in their outrage that someone would treat this beautiful creature this way, and in their concern over the welfare of this young turkey we have all watched grow up. They were supportive of our wildlife center’s efforts to help by providing care, supplies and lots of good thoughts towards his recovery. Thank you to the Balsam Way Turkey Team for their great work!

No legal action has been taken against the surveyor who attacked this bird. The various authorities who were contacted, concluded that it was “self-defense”, and refused to take any written reports of the incident.


If you are confronted with a displaying turkey, stand up to your tallest and wave your arms around and shout. If you have an umbrella, try opening it and closing it repeatedly. This should scare off the Tom Turkey enough that he won’t consider you a challengeable threat to his territory.

There is no need to beat him with a metal rod or anything similarly dangerous. He is only a bird and you are a human. Stay calm and use common sense and you will be fine and may get a good story to laugh about with your friends later, one in which nobody got hurt.

Comments closed.