I had photographed some wild turkeys earlier on the prairie of Owen Conservation Park on Madison's West Side, but when these guys approached the road out of the park as I was leaving, I reached for my camera again. I did not leave the car, however. I had read about what they were capable of -- homeowners, children and mail carriers in the neighborhood have all been terrorized by tom turkeys during the mating season. I wasn't going to take any chances.
Mara Wilhite, manager of the Hilldale Station Post Office, said wild turkeys have been pestering postal delivery workers in Parkwood Hills, a neighborhood on Madison 's West Side near Owen Conservation Park and home to a number of the large birds.More at the link, including a tale about a turkey that police had to taser a couple years ago when it occupied a house and refused to leave.
Between five and 10 large male turkeys, or toms -- apparently a little giddy with the onset of turkey breeding season -- have been bullying postal workers as they make their rounds, pecking at them and even trying to rough them up with the sharp spurs on their legs. One of the birds launched itself through the open door of a mail truck and scratched the driver.
Eric Lobner, regional wildlife program supervisor for the state Department of Natural Resources, is on the case, investigating the turkey gang.
Why the turkeys have targeted postal workers this spring remains a mystery. Lobner said the behavior is clearly tied to the breeding season, which just started and runs through about mid-May. He said color plays an important role in turkey breeding and added that the male 's head during mating season changes from gaudy blue to white to red.
Perhaps, Lobner speculated, turkeys are attracted to the red, white and blue postal trucks.
As for me, I was just glad that my car wasn't flaunting patriotic red, white and blue, but just an ordinary, nondescript beige paint job. I emerged unscathed.