Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Turkeys Attack Professor and Students!

By Richard B. Primack

“When I consider that the noble animals have been exterminated here - the cougar, panther, lynx, wolverine, wolf, bear, moose, deer, the beaver, the turkey, etc, etc - I cannot but feel as I lived in a tamed, and, as it were, emasculated country.” Henry David Thoreau

In late March, our plant ecology class took a field trip to Hall’s Pond Sanctuary in Brookline near BU. As the seven of us walked along the boardwalk, a large group of turkeys slowly crossed the path about 30 feet in front of us. As we waited patiently, three puffed-up adult males turned and walked straight towards us in a menacing manner. 

Male turkeys confront the plant ecology class. 
Photos by Emily Auker; taken under dramatic circumstances. 

At first it seemed a bit amusing that these birds were confronting a group of adults, but when they got within 8 feet from us, it was clear that they were trying to chase us away. We yelled at them and stamped our feet, and I even threw my gloves at them, but they kept advancing towards us. Only when we starting to wave sticks at them did they back off and retreat. 

Turkeys turning away after confrontation.

If we had not acted so forcefully, I think that they would have chased us and tried to peck us. What an adventure! 

This incident was covered by Lexi Peery of the the BU News Service.

1 comment:

  1. Why did Thoreau write "cougar, panther"? Was he thinking of two different species, one what we now call mountain lion (or catamount, to old New Englanders), the other bobcat, which he doesn't mention?