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Lurking turkey pecking on North Bend neighborhood

Provoked by his own reflection, a wild turkey named Ben confronts a slow-moving TV camera crew
Provoked by his own reflection, a wild turkey named Ben confronts a slow-moving TV camera crew's SUV in the Wilderness Rim neighborhood. The lovelorn tom has pecked on cars in the neighborhood for the past week.
— image credit: Allison Espiritu / Snoqualmie Valley Record

Residents in North Bend's Wilderness Rim neighborhood had to think twice about stepping out of their homes and cars this week, scared of an unprovoked attack.

But instead of a bear or a burglar provoking alarm, it was a lurking tom turkey nicknamed Ben.

For the past week, Ben has frequented homes in the vicinity of 170th Street and 427th Avenue. Locals think he's looking for a mate.

But cars seem to draw a more strident response. The bird challenges autos coming down the street, said Rene Peterson, a resident and teacher at Snoqualmie Middle School.

"My husband honked at him and he just started attacking his tires," Peterson said. "He's a huge, aggressive bird. He's trying to find a wife and apparently we're scaring them all away."

Ben isn't aggressive toward people — just cars, said resident Kim Kreidl-Reimer. "He gets all puffed up."

When his dander is up, the bird will walk up to a slowly-moving vehicle, occasionally pecks it. However, neighbors said no-one has been bit by the bird.

According to Stacy Wise, rehabilitation manaher at Northwest Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Bellingham, there aren't many wild turkey populations in Washington.

"People raise them and let them go," Wise said. "Despite that, there's still a wild breed. It could be that it's starting to breed now, so that could be why it's acting that way."

Wise said the behavior is typical in turkeys.

"He probably sees his reflection in the cars. It's typical for turkeys to get aggressive when they see another turkey," she said.

Leaving his truck door open overnight, Jay Lane was surprised to see Ben poking around his driveway on Wednesday morning.

"I think he was trying to find a place to sleep in my truck," he said. "But he's more than welcome to be part of the family."

Wise advises the neighbors of Wilderness Rim to call the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife if they run into any further problems with Ben.

The bird's nickname comes from founding father Benjamin Franklin, who proposed the turkey as a national bird.

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