Thursday, November 23, 2017

Philly’s wild turkeys: Where they’ve been spotted

Anna Orso provides this timely piece in today's Billy Penn:
They were spotted waddling around West Philly earlier this year, not far from Penn’s campus. They’ve been seen in small flocks in Northeast Philly, especially around Pennypack Park. And across the city at random times, wild turkeys have been pecking and scratching away at parked cars, perplexed by their own reflections.
Look, sometimes you’ll just see wild turkeys meandering through Philadelphia streets, like this one spotted window shopping in the Northeast over the weekend — just in time for Thanksgiving.
“We have a whole lot of park land here, 9,000 acres of Fairmount Park,” said Jerry Czech, a wildlife conservation officer with the Pennsylvania Game Commission. “So people think ‘where’s this wildlife come from?’ [Wild turkeys] don’t have lines that differentiate and tell them ‘I don’t belong here.'”
These guys have been around for awhile. In 1683, William Penn wrote in a letter to the Earl of Sunderland: “Turkeys of the wood, I have had of 40- and 50-pound weight.” He was probably exaggerating. Ben Franklin was also a big fan of wild turkeys, calling them “birds of courage” (but probably not wanting them to be the national bird).
So over the years, they’ve wandered the city. Czech says he’s fielded reports of wild turkeys being spotted in West Philly — especially in the Cobb’s Creek area, anywhere in the Northeast near Pennypack Park, the Northeast Philly Airport as well as the Schuylkill Center in the Roxborough area.
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