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Lurking Turkey Pecks Cars in Missouri Neighborhood

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Some birds can wreak havoc on vehicles by flying into them. Others prefer to reside among humans and hang out around cars. A turkey in one Springfield, Missouri, neighborhood falls into the second category.

Meet Richard

Resident Morgan Kyle said that the bird first arrived last summer near South Harvard Avenue, by her home. She claimed he started showing up at their house every day. Her family named him “Richard.” As Kyle put it, “It’s just very fitting. It sounds cool to yell when you’re frustrated, like ‘Oh, Richard!’”

Then, Richard disappeared for a couple of months. His absence happened around Thanksgiving, so you might guess what the family’s worry was. But he reappeared and has taken up his usual visits again. 

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The turkey dilemma

The problem with Richard though is that he likes to peck vehicles. Considering it’s bird breeding season, it’s likely that the turkey sees his reflection in car bumpers and reacts aggressively because he’s trying to protect his territory.

He’s also blocked traffic a few times on the roads near Kyle’s house. Kyle lured him back to safety with some corn. However, Ashley Schnake, urban wildlife biologist with the Missouri Department of Conservation, worries this will have a negative impact on the bird. He might start associating humans and/or vehicles with food, which can pose a safety risk both for himself and local drivers. 

Schnake reminds Springfield residents that, as amusing a neighbor as Richard is, human safety must come first. “If you can slow down for the turkey, that’s great. [… But] do not swerve or stop for the turkey if it’s going to cause an accident.”

In the meantime though, Springfield residents are enjoying Richard’s stay. Explore the hashtag #RichardDiaries to browse Kyle’s turkey encounters that she posts on social media. 

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News Source: Springfield News-Leader