In this episode of BirdNoir, the private eye gets a call from H. Jon Benjamin about unusual Wild Turkey behavior. A male turkey (known as a “tom”) won’t leave his car alone. He keeps tapping his beak on the car. Then the turkey starts circling the house and looking in all the windows. The private eye reveals how things look from the turkey’s perspective, which points the way to a possible solution.
BirdNoir: The Wild Tom Turkey
Written by Conor Gearin and Mark Bramhill
This is BirdNoir. I’m Michael Stein, Private Eye.
[music: “A Night” Laurent Mignard”]
Wild Turkeys are real city slickers nowadays, strutting around parks and lawns. But sometimes they act a little strange.
Caller: [on the phone] Hi Michael, H. Jon Benjamin here. This turkey won’t leave my new car alone.
Caller: Yeah, I just chased him off! A big male tom turkey, showing off his tail feathers! He was tapping his beak on the car for hours!
Caller: Hold on, he’s back!
[Wild Turkey song, ML 238188931, 0:05-0:06]
He’s circling the house and staring in all the windows. Is this turkey hunting me, Michael?!
Probably not. What do you think the tom sees in your windows?
Caller: Uh, my terrified face!
He sees his own reflection. Wild Turkeys are breeding, and the toms are looking out for rival males. His mirror images on the shiny car and the windows look like another turkey.
[Wild Turkey call, ML 50137, 2:58-3:00]
Caller: You’re kidding. Is there anything I can do?
Sure, just cover up your car and coat your home’s windows with some soapy water to make them less reflective. That way your car stays safe and the turkey stays focused on courting.
[Wild Turkey courtship calls, ML 218929941, 0:01-0:05]
My favorite cases are the ones that end well for both the people and the birds. I’m Private Eye Michael Stein.
H. Jon Benjamin: Michael, he got in the car, he’s driving my car away! The turkey just stole my car! [tire screech]
Senior Producer: John Kessler
Content Director: Allison Wilson
Producer: Mark Bramhill
Associate Producer: Ellen Blackstone
Managing Producer: Conor Gearin
Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Wild Turkey ML 238188931 recorded by B. Sullivan, Wild Turkey ML 50137 recorded by G. A. Keller, and Wild Turkey ML218929941 recorded by B. Lagerquist. Music by Laurent Mignard “A Night” Album: Detective, Music for Private investigations 2010 Chromax
BirdNote’s theme was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
© 2022 BirdNote April 2022
Narrator: Michael Stein
ID# noir-04-2022-04-18 noir-04