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As a country girl of sorts, I was used to seeing large and small flocks of wild turkeys in the woods and field of upstate NY, Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. But imagine my surprise to find them on Belle Isle, in the heart of Detroit!
Detroit is a big city, spread out over a large area, and with miles and miles of suburbs around it.
When I majored in wildlife management at the college of Forestry in Syracuse, NY. I learned that wild turkeys were among the shyest of wild animals. They needed LARGE forested areas for their habitat. In 1968, they were primarily found in the huge Connecticut Hill Game Reserve.
But turned out that turkeys surprised the wildlife managers--they were adaptable and soon spread into smaller and smaller woodlots and became much more common.
I am now hypothesizing. Some bleeding-heart, die-hard environmentalists (and I number myself among the strong environmentalists, but these guys were OTT!!)* sold all the deer that lived on Belle Isle to a restaurant in Royal Oak because they were nonnative (I'll do another story on this later) and apparently tried to introduce wild turkeys to the the Island--as a native species.
The turkeys were there for a while. I have a number of other photos of them. But they don't seem to be there any more. The woods on Belle Isle is the size of a postage-stamp, one one-thousandths of the size of Connecticut Hill Game reserve. Maybe it just wasn't enough.
Or maybe the hungry and gun-happy population of Detroit thought they'd make fine dinners.
I was sad to see the deer go and sadder still, in a way, to see the turkeys go. But happy I had a chance to see them while they still inhabited that tiny forest.
OTT = Over the Top, meaning okay not stupid, just ridiculous.