By Victoria Taylor Sluder, Western District Interpretive Services Supervisor
This is great news for anyone who appreciates wildlife and the opportunity to view them. It means that when you are quietly walking the trails, if you keep your distance, you will probably be witness to a variety of wild behavior. Most of the time, this is how it works. But occasionally, encounters with wildlife can be… wild.
The turkeys at Kensington Metropark are proving this true. It is breeding season for Wild turkeys and if you walk the nature trails you may meet up with a roaming gang of toms (male turkeys). They are large animals- which can make them intimidating – and currently they are acting and reacting on instinct, motivated by food and testosterone. Turkeys mainly get around by walking, so they like using the trails as they search for food. But they also prefer that kind of open space to stand around and show off to each other.
This means, they may follow you or refuse to yield the path for you. Please don’t be alarmed. If they follow you, they will give up. If they block your path, it may be a good idea for you to choose a different one. But you could also choose to keep your distance and just watch them. You’ll see tails fanned and body feathers puffed out. You may even see them “gobble”.
Making way for turkeys may seem like a nuisance, but know this behavior won’t last long- breeding season will be over soon. And remember, observing animals acting wild is one of the benefits of visiting to your Metroparks.[Please help us keep the wild behavior natural – don’t feed the turkeys!]