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HomeTechnology & ScienceMeet Franklin the wild turkey that's gobbling up attention in a Kitchener,...

Meet Franklin the wild turkey that’s gobbling up attention in a Kitchener, Ont., neighbourhood

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A wild turkey that has taken up residence in a Kitchener, Ont., neighbourhood is gaining popularity on social media.

The turkey has now been lovingly nicknamed Frank, Frankie or Franklin and is notorious for crossing the road without a care in the world in the Franklin and Weber area of Kitchener.

Quinn Dosch lives along Franklin Street. She said she’s got some theories about the turkey’s traffic obsession.

“I do work at Freshco, just down the street, so we actually go around talking and making so many jokes about the turkey,” she said.

Quinn Dosch and Gavin Whitlock have a theory on why Franklin the turkey is so traffic obsessed. They love seeing the feathered friend in their neighbourhood. (Aastha Shetty/CBC)

“We’ve actually noticed that it goes after light cars or white cars more than dark cars … Like if there’s like a white car pulled over to the side of the road, it’ll go after that one instead of the traffic. But if it’s a dark car that’s pulled over the side of the road, it’ll just go after the traffic.”

Nearby resident Sharmila Shanmugasundaram said she was inspired to make a Facebook fan page for the turkey when she started seeing all the posts about Franklin blocking traffic on social media.

“It became like an everyday thing. People — and I mean a lot of people — started spotting him around Franklin Street,” she said.

smiling woman
Sharmila Shanmugasundaram said she was inspired to make a Facebook fan page for the turkey when she started seeing all the posts about Franklin blocking traffic on social media. (Aastha Shetty/CBC)

“Now he’s just one among us. He just lives in the neighborhood and he just shows up here and there … He’s not anymore just a random turkey.”

Sandeep Pandey said neighbours and motorists have been taking care not to hit the turkey.

On one occasion, Pandey had to walk Franklin the turkey across the street, out of harm’s way.

“Last time I just saved her in the middle of road. Then she went to another backyard,” he said.

“If she goes on the road, it is dangerous for the cars, people as well. They might try to save her and then some accident happens.”

man smiling
Sandeep Pandey has previously helped Franklin the turkey safely get to the other side of a busy road. (Aastha Shetty/CBC)

David Ingard said he has lived in the neighbourhood for years and he’s seen many turkeys in the area — but never one that’s had an online presence.

“He seems a little lonely,” Ingard said.

“I see him once in a while. It’s kind of neat to have something like that … He’s gonna have more likes than I do [on Facebook]. I’m jealous!”

smiling man with silver beard
David Ingard said he’s seen many turkeys in his neighbourhood over the years — but never one with a social media following. (Aastha Shetty/CBC)

No plans to relocate Franklin

The Humane Society of Kitchener Waterloo & Stratford Perth said in an emailed statement that it is aware of the wild turkey and that staff have responded to a few calls about him.

The society says the turkey is male and appears to be healthy — and there’s not much they can do about his presence in the area because he is a wild bird.

turkey on the road
Franklin the turkey is well-known for his traffic-stopping good looks. (Submitted by Sara Frank)

Bill Dowd, president of Skedaddle Humane Wildlife Control, said turkey sightings are more common in urban areas than most people would realize.

“Whether it’s Kitchener, Guelph or Cambridge or Hamilton … our franchises across the country are seeing calls for more and more turkeys in city environments,” he said.

“There may be some concern if it’s coming up to cars from a public safety standpoint, but they are more prevalent in our urban centres for sure.”

He said if you see a wild turkey like Franklin on your property, there are ways to humanely ask them to leave.

“Any animal, whether it be a turkey or Canada goose or a raccoon or a skunk, these are wild animals and people need to be cautious and be careful,” he said.

“[It will move along if you] make some noise. If you have a hose, spray the turkey, just to get it to move along and harass it a bit so it kind of goes on its merry way.”

turkey face off with car
Franklin the turkey is often seen interrupting the flow of traffic in his neighbourhood. (Submitted by Dawn Gill)

Dowd said Franklin the turkey’s well-wishers don’t need to worry about him getting too cold this winter.

“Like all animals now in the Canadian winter, they’ve adapted and they know how to survive. They’ll eat a wide range of of fruits and seeds and insects,” he said.

“These animals are just flourishing in all urban centres.”

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