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Wild turkey aggressively claims elementary school carpool lane as his territory: ‘Quite the pest’


By Cindy Bae

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    CARY, North Carolina (WTVD) — Not many people can say they’ve seen an elementary school principal chase off a wild turkey on school grounds but that’s exactly what happened at Alston Ridge Elementary School on Tuesday.

Principal Niko Schutte used an umbrella to coax the animal away from the school where it was acting aggressively.

Greg Rhoades spoke to ABC11 while waiting to pick up his kids in the carpool line. He laughed at the photo of the chase that Cary Animal Services posted to Facebook.

“Yep. That’s what you would do,” Rhoades said.

The wild turkey, known as “Mr. Tom,” has been quite the pest for a few days at carpool — refusing to move and pecking at glass, cars or anyone or anything perceived as a threat.

“He was trying to claim a territory. And I guess he decided the carpool was going to be it,” Cary Animal Services officer Beth Wilson said.

Wilson said it’s not that unusual to see wild turkeys in the area, especially in the springtime.

“They’re all looking for love and looking for places to have some babies,” Wilson said.

But Mr. Tom is looking for love in all the wrong places, and has even stood up to Officer Savage, who’s the SRO at the school.

“He decided that he wasn’t afraid of her anymore,” Wilson explained.

Mr. Tom instead circled the Cary police car to claim his spot.

“Typically, turkeys, when they decide they want a territory, they can get fairly aggressive,” Wilson said. “They can’t really hurt you. They do beat you with their wings and they can peck at you.”

The open umbrella may have worked for now, but Wilson said if the carpool invader comes back, loud noises should also do the trick.

“You have to make yourself bigger than they are, and don’t let them intimidate you because they will try,” Wilson said.

As of Tuesday, some parents at Alston Ridge Elementary School said they haven’t seen the turkey bachelor and according to Wilson, it’s only a matter of time before he takes his chances elsewhere.

“We’re hoping that that was the end of his little hormonal phase and that he will move along,” Wilson said.

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