What's with all the wild turkeys in Montreal?

Published: 9 May 2024

Wild turkey sightings are on the rise in Montreal.

David Bird, emeritus professor of wildlife biology in McGill's Department of Natural Resource Sciences, told the Montreal Gazette that warmer temperatures have influenced the habits of more than just wild turkey populations.

“All these birds that are not normally found in cold, cold regions are now moving north because of climate warming,” he said.

In the case of turkeys, they don’t fly very much but they are capable of walking long distances, Bird said.

“They simply keep moving into new habitats until eventually, they end up in the Montreal area.” 

In addition to climate warming, Bird said the destruction of habitats is also playing a role.

“All of these birds and other wildlife really don’t have a lot of choice but to invade our cities and coexist, otherwise they go extinct because a lot of their natural habitat and natural foods and so on is being taken away from them by monoculture, agriculture, pesticides … urban sprawl,” he said. “So basically, the bottom line is the birds and other wildlife have a choice: they can adapt and live among us, or they can go extinct. So you really can’t blame the turkeys for wanting to come into Montreal and coexist with us.”

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