March 24, 2019 7:09 am

Watch out for ‘lovestruck’ turkeys, says Winnipeg wildlife interpreter

Turkeys near McPhillips.

Turkeys near McPhillips.

Wade Fisher / Submitted

If you’ve spotted a turkey walking the streets of Winnipeg recently, you’re not alone.

The big birds – which often weigh between 10-20 lbs – have been spotted throughout the city as weather warms up, and a wildlife interpreter says it’s due, in part, to mating season.

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“When it’s dark long, they’re up in the trees, they’re hiding, they want to stay out of the cold,” Fort Whyte Alive’s Barrett Miller told 680 CJOB.

“Now, all the turkey thoughts are turning to breeding season, turning to love and feeling amorous.”

Miller said turkeys are similar to coyotes or raccoons, in that they can eat a little bit of everything – plants, meat, just about anything edible.

The city keeps scavengers like coyotes away from Winnipeg, however, so turkeys have been able to thrive.

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Although they’re not looking for a fight with their human neighbours, Miller said Winnipeggers should use caution if they see turkeys out and about.

Male turkeys – or toms – are currently strutting their stuff and puffing up their bodies to impress females, and getting in the way of a lovestruck bird might not be the best idea.

“They do have one thing on the mind, and you don’t want to be that person who gets in the way of a little turkey relationship developing,” said Miller.

“Twenty pounds of a bird is a heavy bird. They do have sharp claws. If you’ve watched the Jurassic Park movies, you know that dinosaurs sort of evolved into birds. Look at how smart and how vicious the raptors were…”

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