The great turkey battle

Around the housing complex where I live there are wild turkeys that wander around. I know that turkeys can get aggressive, and have heard of them even attacking vehicles. There seem to be a lot of videos online about them being particularly aggressive towards, for some reason, letter carriers.

The turkeys in my area are no softies either. I saw my neighbor trying to get two turkeys to get down from the top of his car which they seem to have thought was a good spot to hang out. They ignored the car alarm that he triggered and when he went closer to shoo them away, one of them jumped down and walked towards him. Fortunately he had come armed with a golf club (the neighbor, not the turkey) and he managed to keep the turkey at bay. Finally my neighbor gave up and went inside, leaving the turkeys victorious on top of his car.

Whenever I see turkeys, I give them a wide berth. So when on my walk a few days ago on the narrow path that winds its way though the complex, I saw three turkeys walking in single file ahead of me, I slowed my pace so as to keep a good distance between them and me. But when I turned a corner, I saw just one turkey. Puzzled, I looked around and realized that two of the turkeys had gone off the path and, unseen by me, had backtracked behind bushes and were now behind me. In short, the turkeys had perfectly executed what I believe is known in military circles as a pincer movement and now had me trapped, with one in front, two behind, and no escape route.

I braced myself for the upcoming battle, calling upon the memory of those American revolutionaries Simon Bolivar, Jean-Jacques Dessalines, and Che Guevara, as well as the spirit of Jose Marti, to help see me though the fight. But to my relief, it did not come to that. The turkey in front also went off the path and went back to join his colleagues and they all wandered off back in the direction from which we had come. No doubt they had realized that I was a much tougher adversary than wimpy mail carriers and decided that discretion was the better part of valor.

In years to come, I shall regale my grandchildren with the exciting tale of my dangerous encounter with the turkeys. Over time I expect the number of turkeys involved in my telling to gradually grow to a large number, to become more aggressive, and my escape from them to be more harrowing and daring, as befits stories one tells to one’s grandchildren so that they will excitedly ask “Tell us again about your fight with the turkeys!”


  1. blf says

    If your retellings, don’t forget the bit where, when all look doomed and the Turkeys just about had you down, you fell into a passing spaceship and so also managed to avoid both the walrus and the oysters. The carpenter, however, wanted her hammer back…

  2. johnson catman says

    Are wild turkeys a protected species? If not, and they become aggressive, what is to stop you from using force to protect yourself?

  3. Mano Singham says

    johnson catman,

    You are allowed to kill wild turkeys in California but only under certain conditions, including first getting a hunting license and permit and if they are on your own property and you use a shotgun, archery equipment, or an air rifle. The parking spaces in a condo complex will definitely not be suitable places to go turkey hunting!

  4. kestrel says

    LOL. I used to raise Eastern wild turkeys and they get quite large. The tom would always want to protest every morning when I went in to feed, water and clean, so I would carry a whip with me (the stiff type you would use when driving a horse carriage). I trained him to jump up on a high perch when I went in, and kept the whip with me just in case he “forgot” that he was supposed to stay up on the perch. His head was at the height of my waist… not that I’m all that tall, but still, this is a big bird. I finally sold them to the phone repair guy. His aviary was such that he did not have to go in with them. Much better situation for him. In the meantime I went to quail. Much smaller birds and much less intimidating! It is now so clear to me that there is a relationship between birds and dinosaurs.

  5. Pierce R. Butler says

    Having lived for decades in the rural southeastern US (Mississippi & Florida), I have yet to encounter a wild turkey that wanted anything else but to run/fly away from any and every human.

    But I gotta tell ya: watch out for/don’t mess with geese!

  6. komarov says

    Re: Rob Grigjanis:

    It’s to dodge algorithms looking for potential copyright violations. I think they work by signal analysis of audio/video, essentially fingerprinting videos for comparison. Embedding the movie in some static image changes it enough to avoid detection. Unfortunately, it also discourages human consumption.

    Now that I think about it, I’m not actually sure if this works. Maybe these videos are still detectable (they seem to be quite rare on YT) and the only surviving exmples are simply those no one bothered to claim. It would be ironic if people trying to avoid filters then saw these as way to do it.

  7. Lassi Hippeläinen says

    Remember to tell your great-grandchildren that at the time of the incident Turkey was still a Muslim country. So the three battallions of turkeys you defeated were actually a whole islamist terror army.

  8. brucegee1962 says

    The geese in our area enjoy standing in the middle of the road and listening to lines of cars in both directions honking at them. We imagine them saying to one another “Listen to those humans honking in praise of our awesomeness! Let us parade here further so that they may continue to admire us!”

  9. springa73 says

    Interesting -- there are a lot of wild turkeys around where I live, but I’ve been lucky enough that they’ve always tried to avoid me. Then again, the ones in the video all look like toms (males), and maybe during mating time they are pumped up on the turkey equivalent of testosterone and are more aggressive than usual.

  10. machintelligence says

    A friend of mine had her German Shepard attacked by a Great Horned Owl while on a walk. In defense of the bird, they were near the nest and the young owlets were about to fledge.

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