Wild turkeys attracting attention in river valley

By Geoff Smith (@GeoffSmithLNN on Twitter)
November 26, 2018 - 11:18am

LETHBRIDGE – Some visitors to the river valley in Lethbridge have been getting quite a bit of attention the last few weeks.

Seven wild turkeys have turned up in Indian Battle Park. Curtis Goodman, resource development coordinator at the Helen Schuler Nature Centre, told lethbridgenewsNOW they appeared around Nov. 6.

“We know that there are established populations in the Cypress Hills area, as well as in the Lundbreck area, so we’re kind of smack dab in the middle,” Goodman explained. He said they were part of a release program in near Lundbreck, but they’re a fairly rare sight at Lethbridge.

He said they can fly around one mile at a time and are quite strong.

“If you were to spook them or come up on them quite quickly, they can almost do a straight vertical takeoff.”

But he’s asking people to keep their distance, as they would with any wildlife.

“There are reports, if we look towards eastern Canada, in the Ottawa area, of wild turkeys becoming quite territorial,” he said. “At certain times of year, they can become quite defensive of territory. We haven’t seen that behaviour with the local population here yet, but that said, with every little thing, it’s important that they have that safe buffer zone and we’re not getting too close.”

The wild turkeys are about twice the size of the more commonly-seen ring-necked pheasant. They appear dark, nearly black, with white tips on their feathers, but Goodman said in the right light the feathers have an iridescence that can reflect multiple colours.

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