ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – Meteorologist Jaime Travers’ husband, Evan, learned a valuable lesson about exercising caution around turkeys and geese as we approach the mating season.
Evan Travers was outside filling the bird feeder when he spotted a flock of turkeys. There were nine hens and a very large and beautiful tom. The tom became aggressive while Evan was taking pictures.
“I thought for sure they’d run away after I started taking pictures of them. But the big tom turkey actually started getting closer to me,” Evan said.
The tom was coming too close for comfort.
“Next thing you know, it fluffs its feathers up and gets big,” he said. “And it starts coming towards me. And my first thought was, ‘I’m going to get big and maybe scare it off.’ You know, what do I know? And it just keeps coming so I turn and just run.”
From the backyard to the garage. But there was no time to get the garage door open.
“So I just keep running,” Evan said. “And I quickly look around to see if any of my neighbors are seeing the idiot being chased by a turkey.”
He was chased all the way back to where it started, finally making it into the screened-in porch.
“And when I closed the screen behind me, it’s right there, and it’s gobbling at me and it’s fluffing its feathers,” he said.
Turkey mating season begins in spring. Dan Zarlenga, a spokesman for the Missouri Department of Conservation, says that turkeys typically aren’t aggressive but can be under the right circumstances.
“I’m going to suspect that that turkey was perceiving that he was protecting his group of hens that he was hoping to be able to mate with soon and so he saw a possible intruder there, competition, so he was taking action to protect his group there,” Zarlenga said.
An incident like this is actually more common with geese.
“When they reach their mating season and they lay their eggs, geese can be very, very, aggressive too. So, if you happen to walk near a nest, then you’re liable to get chased,” Zarlenga said.
Lesson learned. It’s best to keep your distance for your own safety and the sake of the animals as well.