Wandering turkey seems to seek human companionship

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GLENDALE -- Thanksgiving: it's the time of year any turkey with a calendar knows it's probably best to lay low, stay out of sight and not draw attention to one's self. All the more reason why one turkey's tendency to ham it up in Glendale is all the more unusual.

Wildlife experts say it is unusual for a turkey to be outgoing. The animals are usually wary of humans -- which is why it's odd that one turkey actually seeks out human contact.

"The first time I saw him, he darted out and was trying to keep pace with me. He's constantly chirping along. Not a gobble, but sort of making sounds. If you go too slow, he kind of encourages you to pep up," Tom McCarter said.

No one is quite sure where this turkey came from, but they say they know he gets around! One person reported seeing him in Kletzsch Park, another in Greendale. 

"We've seen a lot of turkeys. We've never seen one that comfortable around people -- ever," McCarter said.

The wildlife manager at Wisconsin Humane Society says it's possible this turkey started "imprinting" with humans as a hatchling -- or rather, identifying more with people than poultry.

This turkey has been the talk of the Milwaukee River Parkway this fall for being willing to reach out, and somehow knowing when to back off. However, some say he might not want to be too trusting.

"One of these days, someone's going to pick him up for Thanksgiving turkey roast," one turkey observer said.

Scott Diehl with the Wisconsin Humane Society says it's probably too late to make this bird wary of humans, but asks that people don't feed the bird directly, because associating people with food doesn't do the turkey any favors.