Why this wild turkey isn’t afraid to play chicken with Plymouth traffic

Plymouth drivers raise concerns of wild turkey

PLYMOUTH, Mich. – It’s not Thanksgiving, but there is a turkey becoming the talk of the town in Plymouth.

The turkey is showing up at busy intersections like Ann Arbor Road and Main Street and stopping traffic.

Jay Smail works at the auto shop on the corner and told Local 4 that his work can hear people honking their horns and they know its because the turkey is crossing the road.

Smail said it happens at least twice a week for the last four months.

“He crosses the road almost every day, going back and forth, very slowly like he owns the road,” said Smail.

Sometimes, the turkey just stands there, it’s frustrating and at times hilarious for drivers like Sue Steele.

“I rolled down my window and I had a napkin or something in my front seat. I started waving it at the turkey, I was trying to get his attention,” said Steele. “He never paid attention to me. He just stood there. He didn’t move. He didn’t do a thing.”

A couple of weeks later, the same thing happened. Steele is worried a driver will hit and kill the turkey.

People have reached out to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to see if they could catch the turkey and relocate it, but wildlife biologist Zach Cooley said it’s not as easy as it sounds.

“People say that they can feed them, they get close to them, and you can get fairly close to them but close enough to try to capture them and relocate them is very difficult and we haven’t had really any success with it here recently,” said Cooley.

The DNR does trap wild turkeys, but Cooley explained that it is an intense process that may not work in this situation.

We use rocket nets most of the time, which is an explosive that shoots the net out and those are things that you just can’t do in the in the city,” said Cooley. “So, our options to deal with situations like this are ae very limited.”

Cooley said what will help is for people not to feed the turkey when it does come around because it will return.

“You can’t feed them and keep them coming back to areas like this. You want to try to scare them out of the area,” said Cooley.

While the DNR is limited on what they can do in these circumstances, they still want to know when you see wild turkeys so they can monitor the population. You can do that, here.

About the Author:

Megan Woods is thrilled to be back home and reporting at Local 4. She joined the team in September 2021. Before returning to Michigan, Megan reported at stations across the country including Northern Michigan, Southwest Louisiana and a sister station in Southwest Virginia.