Wild turkey vandalism? Yes.
Sometimes Adirondack living feels like a 24×7 safari. In case you’ve missed the wilder side of Essex, NY, here are just a few of the wild critters we’ve featured recently on the Essex blog.
You get the idea. Living on the Adirondack Coast is a veritable Abercrombie & Kent safari. And normally my bride and I are thrilled with the wilderness at our doorstep. But when a wild turkey died in the act of breaking and entering our home a couple of weeks ago, our enthusiasm waned.
A 23 pound wild turkey smashed through our mudroom door at around 8:30pm on Saturday night. Literally knocked the door right out of the wall, shredding the doorjamb and trim in the process. The alarm went off and New York State police responded to the call, immediately dispatching a trooper to the house. He was so surprised to discover the door blasted off the hinges and a dead turkey sitting on the threshold that he called in the police sergeant. Neither of them had ever experienced a break-in quite this bizarre before, so before long two troopers and one sergeant plus an investigator by telephone collectively unraveled the most likely circumstances and documented the incident. Photos were taken… and then the entire house was searched for evidence of any foul play. They found none. Apparently the turkey smashed the door down but didn’t manage to get into the loot. Or even the bar! (Rosslyn Redux)
Impossible, you say? I thought so too.
But context tells a more complete story. Apparently the wild turkey was ambushed by coyotes. Most of the feathers had been ripped off of his legs and his breast showed a major would. But despite the coyote’s (or coyotes’) inflictions the turkey had managed to escape and fly away. Unfortunately his escape was misguided, and he crashed into our mudroom door.
Still incredulous. I admit, I was too. So I undertook some hasty research and discovered that the Eastern Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo silvestris) in no schlep when it comes to airborne velocity but his radar is wanting.
Wild turkeys have excellent vision during the day but don’t see as well at night. They are also very mobile. Turkeys can run at speeds up to 25 mph, and they can fly up to 55 mph. (National Wild Turkey Federation)
When mating season arrives, anywhere from February to April, courtship usually begins while turkeys are still flocked together in wintering areas. (National Wild Turkey Federation)
Two major characteristics distinguish males from females: spurs and beards… Soon after birth, a male’s spur starts growing pointed and curved and can grow to about two inches. Most hen’s spurs do not grow. Gobblers also have beards, which are tufts of filaments, or modified feathers, growing out from the chest. Beards can grow to an average of 9 inches (though they can grow much longer). It must also be noted that 10 to 20 percent of hens have beards. (National Wild Turkey Federation)
So this bizarre scenario actually makes sense. Sort of… Here’s one last shred of “coyote versus wild turkey” evidence.
Read the full story here: “Kamikaze Wild Turkey: The Gallopavo Imbroglio“.