• By Nina Arias

Minot turkey facts

With the holiday season approaching, nearly 46 million turkeys worldwide are expected to be served as a traditional meal on Thanksgiving Day.

During the winter months, the large birds come down to North Dakota from Canada to forage, almost perfectly matching the time for the holiday. It’s not uncommon to see the birds wandering around Minot, crossing streets, eating out of garbage cans, and even sitting in front yards. The city is no stranger to wild turkeys.

Wild turkeys have been known to tear up vulnerable vegetables and shrubs as well as disturb domesticated pets. They are also guilty of cracking roof tiles, leaving homeowners vulnerable to the cold. While the City of Minot considers turkeys a nuisance, they do provide a much-needed role in the ecosystem. They are both predator and prey. They feed on almost any insect, small rodents, and many plants which keep these populations from overcrowding others in the area. Turkeys are also a source of food for other birds and reptiles who eat turkey eggs as well as the birds themselves.

In Minot, turkeys have been known to crowd highways and cause traffic jams because of their slow pace, and they tend to be in no hurry to move out of motorists’ way. According to the City of Minot website, it is legal to hit a wild turkey while driving. They encourage drivers not to pursue wild turkeys, but if they come in contact while driving it is labeled an accident and reporting it is not required. However, they ask that you call roadside assistance to help you with getting a tow truck or removing the bird from your vehicle.

When Minot residents are on their way to the store to buy turkeys for Thanksgiving, they should make sure to look out for live ones in their path.

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