Cape Cod wild turkey going postal could be mating frenzy misdirected towards mail truck

Turkey goes postal on Cape Cod, stills from CapeCodOnline.com video by Eric Williams

Bird farmers on Cape Cod say there’s a good reason a wild turkey is stalking a mail truck; he’s lonely and it’s getting close to mating season. A black tom turkey near Centerville, MA, is so obsessed with a local postal truck that MA wildlife officials set up a sting to try to catch him in a net, Cape Cod Online reports.

“It’s probably just a male turkey. They just strut. He’s looking for females,” says Jim of local Vernon’s Turkey Farm. It’s a little early for strutting season–the first phase of mating season, which normally starts in March, he says, but Jim thinks the turkey must be lonely because it’s an escaped farm turkey that is on his own.
Given the time of year, it seems like this is just a little misdirected mating season energy. Turkeyzone says “The initiation of gobbling in late February to early March signals the approach of the mating period.” No, chasing postal vehicles aren’t usually part of the ritual, but all kinds of extravagant behavior happens in mating season. “I have a male peacock that has taken a turn for the worse in recent weeks,” says Veronica Worthington of Tuckernut Farm. “He thinks he is wonderful” and follows her around.
The turkey is black and has a “beard,” a cluster of feathers sticking out of his chest that marks him as a male. The Barnstable animal control officer thinks its a two- to four-year-old wild male, not domestic, the Boston Herald reports.

Adding intrigue, The Washington Post reports on a possible Kennedy connection. Ethel Kennedy had her son Bobby, Jr., pick up a couple turkeys on Thanksgiving from Brewster farmer Heidi Howell to show the kids what a live turkey is like. When Bobby opened the door, the male turkey escaped, she told the Boston Herald. “The grandchildren were thrilled,” Ethel sid. “For three days, they chased it everywhere.” Was Bobby driving around with two wild turkeys free range in his car? Anyway, Howell says it’s not the right size.

Mail carrier John Moran says he’s afraid to get out of his truck, lest he be savaged by the bird. From the video, you can see why somebody wants to put a stop to the ridiculous spectacle, more for the turkey’s sake than the mail man’s. The turkey also seems specifically attracted to the mail truck, which just so happens to have a giant USPS eagle painted on three sides. Oddly, this isn’t even the first time turkeys have been drawn to eagle-adorned mail trucks: this flickr picture shows them courting one in Gloucester on Cape Anne. Another shows one flirting with his own reflection in a bumper.

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