Wild turkeys do the strangest things

Jerry Apps
A wild turkey makes itself at home in the backyard of Steve Apps' home on the north side of Madison.

Many of us have wild turkey stories. I have several, but I first want to share what my son, Steve told me about a recent encounter he had with a turkey.

Steve lives on the north side of Madison, in definitely an urban area. He was sitting at his kitchen table, looking out at his backyard when he spotted this lone turkey strutting around his backyard like it owned the place.

The turkey stopped at Steve’s bird feeders and helped itself to some spilled birdseed. It inspected several birdhouses and then it proceeded to march up on his deck. Definitely an urban turkey this one.  

Steve gently eased open the door to the deck and the turkey didn’t move. This turkey was definitely comfortable around people.

Steve, a professional photographer, snapped the above photo when the turkey, not too sure about Steve’s little dog, hopped up on the deck’s railing. When the dog began barking, the turkey flew to the neighbors.

A couple of years ago I had a close and personal encounter with a wild turkey. I was driving along the country road, through a wooded area, on the way to my farm when without warming, something flew out of the woods and struck the side of my car, breaking the side mirror and leaving an impressive dent in my car door.

It was a wild turkey. I stopped and looked around, surely the turkey had been killed. But no sign of the culprit. Two thousand dollars later, my car was as good as new. I don’t know about the turkey—it surely must have had a headache.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Wild Turkeys do the strangest things.

Jerry Apps

Jerry Apps, born and raised on a Wisconsin farm, is Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the author of more than 35 books, many of them on rural history and country life. For further information about Jerry's writing and TV work, go to