A wild turkey, intimidated by a pair of territorial nesting geese, met a tragic end on University of Waterloo campus Monday morning when it took flight and smashed through a third-floor window in the English and philosophy building, say university staff.

The turkey first appeared in the Hagey Hall courtyard Thursday, bringing momentary delight and distraction to university staff during final exam season. 

Turkey through window

The window that the turkey broke has now been repaired. (Courtesy Bruce Dadey)

"It's the end of year, everyone's tired, it's exams. You get a little punchy. I have to say a lot of the faculty ran outside to look at a turkey," said Jennifer Harris, an associate professor at the university. 

"Turkey sightings are highly unusual. Anyone who goes to Waterloo knows geese are predominant. You spend a lot of your time navigating geese and everything they leave behind, but turkeys? I'd never sighted one before."

Colin Wallace, who works in IT at the university, believes the turkey was repeatedly drawn to the courtyard by its own reflection in a glass door.

Unfortunately for the turkey, the courtyard is also home to a couple of aggressive nesting geese. Geese have gained some notoriety on campus for being territorial and confrontational, a reputation fuelled further last week by an encounter outside Hagey Hall that was viewed more than 45,000 times on YouTube.

Turkey 'was terrified'

"[The turkey] was terrified of the two geese," said Wallace.

"They were stalking her. They thought they were guarding their eggs. She would pace back and forth in a corner where they had [contained] her."

Hagey Hall third floor turkey

A turkey left this hole in a third floor window of Hagey Hall on Monday morning. (Courtesy Dorothy Hadfield)

The courtyard is walled on three sides, while a flight of stairs lead out of it. "The steps were where the geese set themselves up as sentries," said Harris. 

The turkey was trying to leave the courtyard, but was "thwarted by the geese," she said. 

"Apparently when it tried to get out, the geese were chasing it back."

On Monday morning, the turkey decided to take an alternative route out of the courtyard and flew into glass windows.

Wallace called the Kitchener-Waterloo Humane Society to assist the turkey, but before they were able to help, it had smashed through a third floor window into an empty meeting room.

"It was right over top of us. It was just this huge smashing sound and glass dropping three storeys," said Wallace.

Turkeys are capable of flying short distances and heights.

With assistance from the humane society, the turkey was chased into a cage and taken away. It had suffered serious injuries to its throat and had to be euthanized.

The turkey left a hole that was about a couple of feet wide and a great deal of broken glass in the room. The window has since been repaired.