Contrary to popular belief, wild turkeys are intelligent, inquisitive, affectionate, sentient beings. Turkeys also have a large vocabulary and have been found to have twenty distinct and specific vocalizations. Also contrary to popular belief, wild turkeys can fly, and are capable of flying at speeds of up to 55 miles per hour for short distances and can travel on the ground at speeds of 25 miles per hour. They also like roosting in trees, as these birds were doing on River Road. I’ve seen them walking around all over Cape Ann, but had never seen them in trees before. There was a rafter of them (what a flock of turkeys is called) very high up in the trees. When I spotted the first one, I thought it was a vulture because of its size and the way the setting sun was glinting off his/her wattle. Then I spotted the others and realized they were turkeys.
In anecdote after anecdote from the 17th through the 19th centuries, the wild turkey was characterized as showing an amazing friendliness towards people. Wild turkeys would walk right up to the early settlers. Sadly, the birds likely met with death for their curiosity and friendliness. It is good to see that today turkeys can once again freely roam our neighborhoods without fear.