Police officers in Lincoln, Neb., found themselves embarrassed this week, responding to a breaking and entering call, guns drawn, to find the devastation caused not by armed burglars, but by wild, urban turkeys. According to an article in USA Today, mating season is upon us, and the wild birds are driven by testosterone to roam the streets of our cities and suburbs, wreaking havoc as they search for mates.
Nationwide, urban areas have seen an increase in wild animals, including predatory animals. Unlike cougars and mountain lions, these turkeys aren’t searching for food as they smash windows or ransack gardens. The uncomfortable altercations with humans are mainly a result of male turkeys on the prowl. The article cites examples in which turkeys camped out in people's living rooms, even sitting on the furniture after breaking the windows to gain access.
Not all interactions have been comical, however, as the article references several instances of property damage and automobile accidents (some fatal) as drivers have swerved to avoid the birds. The article quotes one trucker who recounts a tale of a turkey flying into his windshield, almost causing an accident and leaving a lasting image of the turkey’s face against the glass of the tractor-trailer.
These rendezvous are even more interesting when you consider the wild turkey was nearly extinct in 1900, absent from "17 of 36 states" that were part of the United States at the time. Today, the wild turkey population has exploded to more than 7 million birds.