A wild turkey that has taken up residence in a Kitchener, Ontario neighborhood is gaining popularity on social media.
The turkey has been affectionately nicknamed Frank, Frankie, or Franklin, and is known for cruising the street without a care in the world in the Franklin and Weber area.
Quinn Dosch, who lives on Franklin Street, said he has a few theories about the turkey’s obsession with traffic.
“I work at Freshco, just down the street, so we talk and make a lot of turkey jokes,” he said.
“In fact, we’ve noticed that it chases light or white cars more than dark cars… Like if there’s a white car stopped on the side of the road, it’ll go after it instead of traffic.” But if it’s a dark car pulling up on the side of the road, it’s just going to go after the traffic.”
Sharmila Shanmugasundaram, a nearby resident, said she was inspired to create a Facebook fan page for the turkey when she started seeing all the posts about Franklin blocking traffic on social media.
“It became an everyday thing. People, and I mean a lot of people, started seeing it on Franklin Street,” he said.
“Now he’s just one of us. He just lives in the neighborhood, popping up here and there… He’s not just a random turkey anymore.”
Sandeep Pandey said neighbors and motorists have been careful not to hit the turkey.
On one occasion, Pandey had to carry Franklin the turkey across the street, out of harm’s way.
“Last time I saved her in the middle of the road. Then she went to another backyard,” he said.
“If she goes on the road, it’s dangerous for cars, also for people. They might try to save her and then some accident happens.”
David Ingard said he has lived in the neighborhood for years and has seen many turkeys in the area, but never one that has had an online presence.
“He seems a bit lonely,” Ingard said.
“I see it from time to time. It’s great to have something like that… It’ll get more likes than me.” [on Facebook]. I’m jealous!”
There are no plans to relocate Franklin
The Kitchener Waterloo & Stratford Perth Humane Society said in an emailed statement that it is aware of the wild turkey and has responded to calls about the bird.
The society says that the turkey is male and appears to be healthy, and there is not much they can do about its presence in the area because it is a wild bird.
Bill Dowd, president of Skedaddle Humane Wildlife Control, said turkey sightings are more common in urban areas than most people realize.
“Whether it’s Kitchener, Guelph, Cambridge or Hamilton…our franchisees across the country are seeing orders for more and more turkeys in urban settings,” he said.
“There may be some concern if it’s cars from a public safety standpoint, but for sure they’re more prevalent in our urban centers.”
He said that if you see a wild turkey like Franklin on your property, there are ways to humanely ask it to leave.
“Any animals, whether it’s a turkey, Canada goose, raccoon or skunk, are wild animals and people need to be cautious and careful,” he said.
“[It will move along if you] Make noise. If you have a hose, spray the turkey down, just to get it moving and harass it a bit to get it on its merry way.”
Dowd said fans of Franklin the turkey shouldn’t worry about it getting too cold this winter.
“Like all animals now in the Canadian winter, they have adapted and know how to survive. They will eat a wide range of fruits, seeds and insects,” he said.
“These animals are flourishing in all urban centers.”
LISTEN| Franklin the turkey has become a staple in this Kitchener neighborhood:
The Morning Edition – KW8:40Franklin the turkey is becoming a local sensation in Kitchener