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Wild turkeys: Guess what’s eating them?

By Gary Bogue
Thursday, April 24th, 2008 at 6:49 am in Mountain lion, wild predators, wild turkeys.

Dear Gary:
My friend Rodger Hartwell pointed out that in his neck of the woods, they are noticing mountain lions eating wild turkeys — something they have not seen before.

So I might suppose the same thing might be happening in the hills around Rossmoor in Walnut Creek (where there are a LOT of wild turkeys! /Gary). Rodger had been wondering what was going to come of the increasing wild turkey population. One predator has now stepped up.

Rodger also pointed out that nothing was eating Mitten crabs, and it looked like a disaster with these imported exotics until wild herons started feeding on them. And then other creatures joined in so they are not the problem people originally thought they would be as their numbers are down because of this predation.

So we’ll see who else wants to eat wild turkey. Even though we mess with nature too much, somehow, eventually nature balances things out.

Don’t worry about all the urban crows as they are likely to go the way of the European starlings with a population crash.
Brian in Walnut Creek, CA

Yes, the crows and other wild Corvids (jays and ravens) are VERY sensitive to the West Nile virus and that may be what slows them down. Good old Mother Nature, she always seems to figure out a way to keep things balanced, no matter how hard we humans try to keep things screwed up.

I’m off, taking a week’s break from writing columns and blogs. I’ll be back here in this very same spot, typing away with something new and interesting (I hope!) on Monday, May 5.

Until then … see you! /Gary

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4 Responses to “Wild turkeys: Guess what’s eating them?”

  1. Karen Says:

    I’ve never seen a mountain lion, but several years ago I remember hiking a dirt trail in Joseph Grant County Park (east of San Jose) and seeing wild turkey tracks that seemed to go every which way. And on top of them were widely-spaced, really big pawprints — much too big for a coyote.

    I’ll be sad if the crows in my neighborhood die. My husband hates them, but I admire them.

  2. Ray West Says:

    Hi Gary,

    I went looking for your website because I’ve got an odd story/question, and, well, your ‘mountain lion eating turkeys’ post seems to be as good a starting point as any, as you’ll see.

    We live in El Cerrito, with hardly any ‘wild’ areas within several blocks. My housecat, Calvin, has been bringing a steady stream of dead fowl home. I’m not sure what kind, because Calvin has beheaded almost all of them.

    They’re smaller than chickens (my neighbor across the street has a coop with a few chickens, so my first thought was that Calvin was getting into it there, but their head count was full) but have brownish coloring and VERY chicken-ish legs. Not sure if these were full grown. The few heads that Calvin was kind enough to leave on were small and round, and didn’t have any ‘comb’ around the facial area.

    I’d like to know what we’re dealing with here, simply because if it’s some kind of chicken that Calvin is raiding some poor neighbor’s coop for, then I’ll have to canvass the neighborhood for a few blocks in every direction. As of yet, I’ve turned up no one apart from my neighbor across the street who has a chicken coop.

    If there are wild birds in the El Cerrito area that match that description, then maybe I’d feel at least a little less guilty for Calvin’s carnivorous ways.

    Many thanks!

    Ray West
    El Cerrito

  3. bhf Says:

    Hello Ray,
    You may not understand ecological systems or the problems that cats bring to wildlife areas, so I recommend that you take some time to visit the Lindsay Museum and learn more about the destruction that cats can do to the wildlife. They also have a Hospital where birds are frequently brought in with cat teeth puctures. The volunteers work hard to keep these injured birds alive and then release them back into the wild. I volunteered there for several months. I always wondered what would happen to a bird that I helped take care of. Would it be lunch for a selfish overfed cat? I hope not. Besides, there are plenty of dangers for your cat as well.
    You should read the many blogs on this site about cats. Just click on cats on the list just to the right of this blog.
    Please volunteer some time at the Lindsay Museum so you to can become more sensitive to the issues of cat predation in your neighborhood. It may not be something that you feel too guilty of, but maybe you should feel a lot of shame.

  4. Pam Says:

    Hi Gary,

    I live in the Keys in Walnut Creek and was out walking my dog Saturday morning and this morning around 7:45 and saw about 8 – 10 wild turkeys walking from Civic Drive towards our garage. They were not the least bit phased by my barking Golden Retriever/English Springer mix. Is there any organization (animal control??) who deals with these guys or do we just let them be and hope they find other stomping grounds???

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