I few months ago I was driving through the Victory Park neighborhood of Stockton when I spotted what I thought was an unusual sight: A lone wild turkey. It was strutting along the sidewalk and though some front yards as if it was a common pigeon or red-breasted robin. Careful not to scare it away, I pulled the car up across the street and got a few shots of it out of the window. As it walked along I slowly followed it. It seemed aware of me but didn’t seem very worried.
National Public Radio recently aired a story on wild turkeys. It said that in the U.S. wild turkeys were almost wiped out by hunting and habitat destruction. By the early 1900s there were only about 30,000 left in the country. Then conservationists got involved and managed to protect the birds and bring them back. Today wild turkeys number almost 7 million nationally and can be found in every state across the nation except for Alaska.
In the following few weeks I would occasionally spot the Victory Park bird (or perhaps another just like it, I mean, how can you tell one from another?) around the same general area, but more recently I haven’t seen a trace of it. Maybe it knew that Thanksgiving was coming up and decided to move to a safer place or was snagged by some resident wanting an alternative to a store-bought Butterball turkey.