manorturkeysVeritable traffic stoppers, and the topic of much conversation around the office, a rather large flock of wild turkeys has decided, like so many others, that Asheville is the place for them. A somewhat unlikely choice, given that wild turkeys tend to gravitate toward more rural and less populated areas in which to reside, Asheville has embraced its wayward flock. The feathered tribe of maybe twenty or so can be found at any number of locations in central and north Asheville, casually strolling across parking lots and lawns – or right down the center of streets – stopping traffic all the while, as amazed and amused drivers patiently wait for the crowd “turkus maximus” to meander on their way. Top photo shows Asheville’s own wild turkey flock “cruising” through the Historic Manor Inn Apartments’ parking lot.
manorturkeys2Just why the turkeys have taken up residence in a very urban part of town is anyone’s guess, but part of the reason they are around might be attributable to the efforts of a wildlife group named the National Wild Turkey Federation. In the mid-1980s, the organization started an effort to reestablish the Eastern wild turkey in all suitable habitats of the eastern United States by the year 2000. The group’s efforts have paid off handsomely in both North Carolina and South Carolina; every county in both states now support wild turkey populations (although precious few of them are actually city dwelling birds). The group estimates about 100,000 wild turkeys now live in North Carolina. Second photo on right is a picture of the dominant male turkey taking exception to having his flock’s picture taken. (’s photographer was able to negotitate a safe exit.)

Apparently, the Asheville flock has found the streets and lawns of the city to be a “suitable habitat,” as they show no obvious signs of any interest in leaving. Maybe they’ve read that Asheville is a great place to retire – or maybe they’re an art-loving flock – or maybe they’ve heard about the success of the deer in Biltmore Forest. Whatever the reason, it appears that the flock is safe and thriving in the heart of Asheville.