Deb Susan is Surprised by Ninja Turkeys

Let me begin by saying I don’t live in the country. My house lies in a fully residential suburb of Sacramento, California – sidewalks, urban sprawl, you get the idea.

Which is why it came as such a surprise one evening when my son looked out the window and said, “Mom … there are turkeys in the yard.”

“Real turkeys?”  I asked. “As in – birds?”

(I thought maybe he meant local teenagers acting up – it hadn’t happened before but you never know.)

“Yes Mom. Turkeys. Big ones, too.”

I ran for the window and then for my camera (technically, my iPad because I didn’t have an iPhone yet at the time). Sure enough, a trio of toms had invaded the yard and started hunting for grubs. They stuck around for half an hour and wandered off down the sidewalk.

Two weeks later, I woke up and wandered into the kitchen for coffee – only to find a three-foot female turkey staring at me through the sliding door in the great room. (Note: this is actually far more startling than it sounds – that door leads to the fenced backyard.) By the time I grabbed my camera, Peeping Tom-asina and her babies had wandered off to the other side of the backyard – and my smallest cat, Oobie, was watching them from the window. As with the previous ninja turkeys, the family stayed about half an hour and departed for parts unknown.

This is NOT what I expected when I moved to Sacramento.


Three weeks ago, on one of the hottest days of the summer, I was driving home from work when I spotted Mom Turkey and her babies – now almost grown – walking down the sidewalk a block from my house. They seemed perfectly comfortable, except for the 110-degree heat, and when I pulled over to take some pictures they sauntered into a yard and stood underneath a tree – completely unfazed by my presence.

In fact, one of the babies wandered up to look at my truck while I was looking at him.

Apparently, the Sacramento suburbs are home to wandering tribes of ninja turkeys, capable of appearing and disappearing at will. I’m not complaining. There’s something about turkeys that appeals to my sense of humor, and their off-and-on visits (with no sign of them in between) is a surprise I’ve already learned to appreciate.

Have you ever seen wildlife in an unexpected place? What would you do if you found a turkey ogling you through the window? Hop to the comments. I’d love to hear.



23 Replies to “Deb Susan is Surprised by Ninja Turkeys”

    1. What a neat place to live! I love wildlife, and hopefully the coyotes didn’t get too troublesome. We used to have coyotes near us in Southern California, but they mostly kept their distance. It sounds like you had some great wildlife spotting – so neat!

  1. The wild turkeys who frequent our yard are – wilder. They keep their distance and stay away from the windows. I’m grateful because I have been chased by a turkey – a tame turkey, supposedly. Those suckers are big and mean! As for misplaced wildlife, when I was a kid we had a family of blue birds nesting near our chimney one summer. On a daily basis one of the fledglings would fall down the chimney and into the (fortunately not in use in the summer) wood stove and require rescue. Excitement ensued! Fluttering and ashes, oh my!

    1. How funny. I can only imagine your surprise the first time THAT happened.

      Suddenly…baby birds!

      It’s funny about our turkeys – the toms stay away from the house, but the female and her babies (at least one of whom is a tom, but he seems to have picked up his mother’s habits) are inordinately curious about what’s on the other side of windows. They’re definitely not nice when angered, though, so I’m just as glad that most of ours keep their distance.

  2. Those turkeys sure do get around! I feel like everywhere I’ve ever lived, I’ve been fortunate to look out a widow one day and see turkeys roaming. (Though I think Kerry’s stories take the cake!)

    (I think that pic of your kitty needs a thought bubble;) Hmm…)

    1. It’s funny how widespread turkeys seem to be, and how adaptable they are to urban settings. A lot of animals don’t do well when their environments get taken, but turkeys just seem to adapt without problems. I’m not sure whether that means they’re brilliant or just too stupid to figure out what’s going on.

  3. We woke up to find a pair of peacocks (well, I suppose technically one was a peahen) in our very suburban front yard once. THAT was weird. (Apparently a nearby farm, leftover from when the area was more rural, kept peafowl for some incomprehensible reason. Perhaps they liked the feathers.)

    1. That’s hilarious. I’m not sure what I would do if I found peacocks on the lawn. Did you ever hear them screaming at night on the farm? Or was it too far away from your house? (Peacocks sound like women…it’s freaky.)

      1. Yeah, we heard them all the time. It IS freaky how human the screams sound. The farm has since been sold & replaced with some McMansions, so we don’t have anymore pea-visitors or screaming.

  4. My parents have a serious deer problem in their neighborhood. Once, a whole family of them were camped out on my parents’ driveway and refused to move as my mom honked her horn and tried to make her way toward the garage. Another time, as my mom rinsed out her breakfast bowl in the kitchen sink and gazed out the back window, she noticed a doe standing on her hind legs with her front legs perched on my parents’ fence while a buck stood behind her in a rather, ahem, compromising position. Always an adventure…

    Oh, and I love that your turkeys are ninja turkeys, “capable of appearing and disappearing at will”!

    1. Your parents’ yard is an adult deer sanctuary…in more ways than one! I can only imagine … National Geographic comes home. What a great story though. Do they like the deer at least? I know deer are big plant eaters, so I’m guessing if your parents like gardening they might find the deer more than a little inconvenient.

    1. Oh yikes, Amy. We have a big raccoon who comes into the yard to drink from the pool sometimes. We see him at night, but not often. One morning, though, we woke up to find handprints on our sliding door – he had apparently stood up and looked in through the glass. It had been raining, so his hands were muddy.

      The freakish thing is that his prints were REALLY high on the glass and measured well over 2″ in diameter – that’s when we realized just how big he really was. I’m glad not to have to deal with him in my attic.

      How did you get them out, by the way?

  5. I’ve seen wild turkeys on the outskirts of my town, but other than that, I don’t think we’ve had any surprise wildlife viewings. Although, my husky/shepherd got out of our yard once and someone walking down the street was frightened, thinking she was a coyote.

    1. I’m starting to suspect that turkeys are like cockroaches – if you see one, there are ten thousand more you can’t see, just waiting to lick your butter in the night.

      Except that turkeys might not lick butter. Then again, they might. I’m not inviting them in to find out.

      It amuses me that someone would mistake a husky (even a mix) for a coyote – though I guess if someone isn’t familiar with coyotes they look similar enough that it could happen. I’m glad you were there to keep the dog safe. People do weird things when they see coyotes.

      1. OMG, and here I thought my nightmares would get a reprieve. That’s it, the butter goes back in the fridge. Turkeys, cockroaches, slugs, evil monkeys – I’m scared of what Amy’s got in store.

        By the way, there’s a picture of my ‘coyote’ here: She wasn’t out there long – just rambling down the street long enough for me to think she was too quiet in the back yard and go in search of her.

        1. Oh, she’s lovely (or was lovely – I’m sorry to see it looks like she’s not with you any longer). What a beautiful dog. Your other dog is lovely too – and looks like a ball of energy.

          And you’re welcome for the butter thing. Nothing like the thought of roaches licking the butter – except perhaps Deb Kerry’s discussion of spiders and other unexpected visitors in the shower.

          In fact… pretty much everything this week has been creeptastic. Welcome to October!

  6. Hmm…turkeys seem to find you, Ms. Spann. I’m wondering what that says about your karma. The fact that they’re ninjas is a good sign, however. P.S. Huskies DO NOT look like coyotes. lol!

    1. Oh, I think I can say without question that I’m a turkey magnet.

      Then again, I do live just outside Sacramento, which is the California state capital, and it is an election year. It’s possible my visitors are just canvassing for votes.

  7. I don’t know how long you’ve lived around Sac but the animals up here where I live (in Placerville) do occasionally get themselves down to the valley. There are turkeys constantly in my backyard as if they live here and sometimes I see them down in Folsom too. Maybe they’re on their way to you 😉 Deer, mountains lions and the occasional bear are around too.

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