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Urban Adventure Tale #1: The Toms

On April 17, 2008, in Nature, Running, by Meghan
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I’ve returned from Minnesota, but the next few blog entries will be all about my urban adventuring. Please know that the following tale is true, every last word of it, if for no other reason than it seems too improbable to make up.

I was running on the wide shoulder of oncoming traffic along a two-lane urban roadway on a sunny, shorts-wearing afternoon. The run was going well, except for the fact that, even though I had looked everywhere, I couldn’t find my way to the local nature preserve and trails. At this point, I had given up and was making a beeline for a railroad line with the dirt trail next to it not too far from my mom’s house.

Without warning, two wild turkey toms rose up onto the opposing shoulder from the ditch below and began running towards me.

A wild turkey (from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Wild_turkey_eastern_us.jpg)

Not only were they running towards me, but they were gobbling! At first I gawked, and then I realized that I was being chased by two wild turkeys. In case you have never been chased by a wild turkey before, they run fast and were impossible to outrun. As a result, there in the middle of the road, I resorted to running around, darting back and forth. With those sudden, changing movements, I was not losing any distance on the turkeys, but I wasn’t gaining any either.

The driver of a shiny, red, Chevrolet truck saved the day, as he arrived to the scene and drove his truck in between the two toms and I. With their path blocked and the threat gone, the turkeys lost interest and wandered back off the road again. I waved at the man in the red truck (and the two cars that had subsequently stopped behind him) in thanks. Everyone waved back appropriately amidst huge, wide grins. By this time, I was laughing, too.

While my history of running in the Midwest (prior to moving westward) is marred with stories of being chased by geese around the local lakes, I hadn’t been chased by a wild turkey until this past Monday. One time, years ago at Big Bend National Park in Texas, a wild turkey briefly jumped on the hood of my car while it was parked at a backcountry campsite near the Rio Grande River. I’m not sure what a wild turkey would do in an attack, but I’m glad I didn’t find out. Who knew that the urban world was so full of adventure?

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12 Responses to “Urban Adventure Tale #1: The Toms”

  1. Beth says:

    Dang!! Beware of the turkey!!! Geez…those things are really big too. I bet they could put a hurtin’ on a human! Glad you got away safely! Do they make turkey spray? ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Sunshine Girl says:

    As a child, I once got goosed by a goose (left a multi-colored nasty bruise on my butt). Also (and I couldn’t even make this up) I have this traumatic memory of going to the Lion Safari Park and having two screwing ostriches jump on the hood of our car. I didn’t know ostriches could mount each other, but that’s what they were doing. As a kid, they were quite terrifying but my parents were yucking it up!!

  3. Backofpack says:

    Thank goodness you got away safely! A couple of years back the local authorities killed a large flock of Canadian geese at a local park. A few days later, my friend and I were out running and we heard noise behind us. It was a youngish goose, jogging along, flapping his wings as he went. He followed us on the mile loop through the park, then out on to the sidewalk and into a neighborhood. He wasn’t threatening (I’ve encountered those), I think he was just lonely. Want to know what distracted him? Eric ran by, and he veered off and followed him. Eric’s a little (lot) faster, so he eventually lost him. Kinda sad…I think he was out on a teenage goose date and came home to find not only his whole family, but his whole neighborhood gone. (And yes, there was a bit of an uproar over the kill).

  4. Danni says:

    Wildlife follow you wherever you go!

  5. Roslyn says:

    I was telling my husband about your roof-of-the-mouth burn (I”m always nagging him about sunscreen), and to clarify whom I was talking about I referred to you as “the blogger I like reading who used to live in Big Bend and now lives in Yellowstone” and he said, “Oh, the one with the mountain lion.” Hard to believe that the same person whose encounter with a mountain lion had us reading on the edges of our chairs GOT CHASED BY WILD TURKEYS. I dunno, Meghan.

  6. Meghan says:

    Gobble, gobble!

    Beth- Who knew about the agressive proclivities of the wild turkey?

    Leslie- Oh wow about the ostriches. I bet that image is seered into your brain to this day!

    Michelle- The lone goose following after you, it’s altogether sad and cute.

    Danni- I know it, right there in the middle of urban America!

    Roslyn- I KNEW there would be at least one non-beleiver. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Have a great weekend, all!

  7. A says:

    You are right, you can’t make this stuff up. It is one thing to SEE a wild turkey in the city, but to be chased by them? That is just so preposterously hilarious I can’t stop laughing. Apparently, nature is drawn to you, even in the big city! What are the odds. Thanks for the laugh, this paints quite the vivid mental image, ha ha!

    anne

  8. Bob Gentile says:

    being chased by two wild turkeys.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    LOLOLOL ahhhh I once drank to much Wild Turkey and got chased by neighbors ๐Ÿ™‚

    wonder if u would have stopped and posed like the Karate kid what would they have done… I bet they were all gobble(bark) and no bite–lol

    Damn that would have been great youtube footage!!

  9. crowther says:

    Yes, turkeys are good runners. Back when I was teaching physiology, I would “talk turkey” with my students around Thanksgiving, pointing out that the dark meat is in the legs. Dark meat being muscle with lots of blood vessels, myoglobin, hemoglobin, mitochondria … all the components needed for high-level aerobic exercise, in other words.

  10. JeffO says:

    That’s hilarious. And why would you have to make it up? It’s par-for-the-course for Meghan Hicks. Lions, bears, rednecks in pickups, turkeys… just a day-in-the-life. And you can’t seem to escape it in the Big City, can you?

  11. Meghan says:

    Anne- My mom lives in an area with a fair bit of green space. I saw several wild turkeys while I was home, in addition to these two fellas’. Oh if you had been in the red truck, you’d still be laughing!

    Bob- I’m pretty sure you and your tire pulling would still me more popular on YouTube.

    Greg- Thanks for chiming in and making me feel better about not being able to outrun the turkeys. That’s what about 72 people have asked: “Well, you’re a runner. Why couldn’t you just out run them?”

    JeffO- Just a day in the life of me, sigh. ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. […] up to wild turkeys, they’d be shredded to bits. Should the people need evidence, I give them Exhibit A. This is the 2008 story of some mean ol’ tom turkeys and the stranger who saved (and laughed […]

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