Manitoba

Gobble gobble: wild turkeys make their way to Osborne Village

Videos and photos are popping up on social media of the animals in urban areas, including River Heights and, most recently, Osborne Village.

The birds are probably looking for food in a 'predator-free' environment, naturalist says

Wild turkeys have been spotted in the Osborne Village area recently. By the looks of it, this turkey was scoping out apartments. (Dennis Burnett)

If you've heard some wild turkeys gobbling around the city in recent weeks, you're not alone.

Videos and photos are popping up on social media of the animals lurking around urban areas, including River Heights and, most recently, Osborne Village.

Photographer Dennis Burnett shot these turkeys in the Osborne Village area last week. (Dennis Burnett )

Teal McFarland said she spotted some last week near her apartment.

"They were just chilling.I didn't get too close," she said.

"They did get pretty mad if you got close to them — they'd start to gobble at you."

Adriane McElrea spotted these turkeys near her apartment in Osborne Village recently. (Submitted by Adriane McElrea)

Some people, however, seemed to not mind the risk and were trying to get close enough to take better photos, McFarland said.

It seemed like the turkeys were trying to get away, McFarland said. "They were probably pretty freaked out." 

Heather Hinam, a naturalist and educator, said it's common to see wild turkeys in the St. Norbert area, but she's never heard of them making it this far into the city.

"But that doesn't mean it hasn't happened," she said.

But it's not the local coffee shops and hipster aesthetic attracting them to the Osborne neighbourhood — the turkeys are probably looking for food and predator-free spaces, she said.

"We don't have a lot of large predators, coyotes tend to avoid the city, so here they're a little bit safer," she said.

"They can find a fair amount of food in people's backyards and have a nice safe place to strut their stuff."

If they have food readily available, the turkeys could stick around all spring, so it's important for people to give them their space, Hinam said.

"I always kind of get a little leery when I hear people getting too close because sometimes we forget that these are wild animals and they can be unpredictable and ultimately dangerous sometimes," she said.

And if they do gobble at you, don't worry, they're probably just talking to each other, Hinam said.

With files from Danelle Cloutier and Up to Speed

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