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Farewell, North Campus Turkey. Famed jogger chaser killed in Ann Arbor

The turkey struts along Hubbard and Huron Parkway on June 17, 2019. (Credit: Meredith Bruckner)
The turkey struts along Hubbard and Huron Parkway on June 17, 2019. (Credit: Meredith Bruckner)

ANN ARBOR – Huron Parkway became a lot less interesting this week.

Officers with Michigan's Department of Natural Resources were called early Monday morning by the Ann Arbor Police Department and shot the North Campus turkey -- a bird who's gained notoriety for blocking traffic, and chasing people.

"It took a number of officers to corral the turkey," said DNR officer Lt. Andrew Turner. "Wild animals are pretty crafty and they can be pretty elusive. It sounded like they shooed it away and shortly after it came back. They ultimately made a decision to corral it into a safe area and put it down."​​​​​​​

Turner said the turkey was taken to DNR's East Lansing lab to have it tested for diseases, considering its behavior. 

The North Campus turkey has become quite the local phenomenon after photos and video emerged on social media showing that it was harassing joggers and people walking to their cars at the North Campus Research Complex. It even has its own Twitter handles.

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His demise was falsely reported several times with some saying he'd been hit by a car, and somehow, he always came back. 

Following news of his death, many residents asked why the bird wasn't captured and relocated. 

"That could be an option but I think its certainly much easier said than done," said Turner. "In this case, you're in a city and you have traffic issues and a lot of pedestrian traffic, and so I don't know how easy it would be to catch a turkey. Putting together the resources and the effort to make that happen, I don't know if it would be successful or if it would be warranted."

Ultimately, it came down to public safety.

"Anytime there are animals that are habituated, and they're involved with vehicles and traffic, there's a concern for safety," said Turner.

This isn't the first time the Ann Arbor Police were called to the scene to monitor the turkey. 

Ever wonder what night shift does on a Tuesday? Tonight it involves investigating this guy for harassing joggers on the north side.

Posted by City of Ann Arbor - Police Department on Tuesday, May 28, 2019

This was the straw that broke the camel's back, or the turkey's back in this case, and AAPD made the call to have the turkey killed, said AAPD officials.

While he spurred a spirited and humorous community conversation, he is at peace now. Rest well, NCT.

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About the Author:

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.