‘Can we hook him up?’ Turkey on the loose in Calgary wandering in search of mate

A turkey, nicknamed “Turk Diggler” is shown in this handout photo in Calgary on January 23, 2020. Turk Diggler is looking for love, and one Calgary city councillor is wondering whether to play matchmaker. Sightings of the lone male turkey with brown and grey feathers and a red wattle began about a year ago in Calgary’s Ramsay neighbourhood southeast of downtown.THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Christa White MANDATORY CREDITA turkey, nicknamed “Turk Diggler” is shown in this handout photo in Calgary on January 23, 2020. Turk Diggler is looking for love, and one Calgary city councillor is wondering whether to play matchmaker. Sightings of the lone male turkey with brown and grey feathers and a red wattle began about a year ago in Calgary’s Ramsay neighbourhood southeast of downtown.THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Christa White MANDATORY CREDIT
A turkey is shown in this handout photo in Calgary on March 29, 2020. Turk Diggler is looking for love, and one Calgary city councillor is wondering whether to play matchmaker. Sightings of the lone male turkey with brown and grey feathers and a red wattle began about a year ago in Calgary’s Ramsay neighbourhood southeast of downtown. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Calgary Police Service- Const. Chris Martin MANDATORY CREDITA turkey is shown in this handout photo in Calgary on March 29, 2020. Turk Diggler is looking for love, and one Calgary city councillor is wondering whether to play matchmaker. Sightings of the lone male turkey with brown and grey feathers and a red wattle began about a year ago in Calgary’s Ramsay neighbourhood southeast of downtown. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Calgary Police Service- Const. Chris Martin MANDATORY CREDIT

Turk Diggler is looking for love, and one Calgary city councillor is wondering whether to play matchmaker.

Sightings of the lone male turkey with brown and grey feathers and a red wattle began about a year ago in Calgary’s Ramsay neighbourhood southeast of downtown.

Residents theorize the bird escaped from an agricultural event at the Stampede Grounds down the hill.

Some refer to him simply as Turk. In city councillor Gian-Carlo Carra’s household at least, he’s called Turk Diggler, an apparent play on the fictional porn star Dirk Diggler.

Until recently, Turk seemed content to stick around Ramsay.

“What’s happening now is Turk Diggler is ranging far afield,” said Carra.

Turk has a nearly 3,800-strong Facebook fan club on the “Loyal Followers of the Ramsay Turkey” page, and members have been posting photos of his travels around town over the past two weeks.

He has shown up in Carra’s neighbourhood of Inglewood, right next to Ramsay. Police Const. Chris Martin was also out on patrol two weeks ago and snapped photos of the bird meandering around the Beltline area.

This week, the turkey was peering at windows of the Eau Claire YMCA.

“What seems apparent is that Turk Diggler is looking for a mate, because he seems very pre-occupied with staring lovingly at his own reflection in any surface that reflects him — a window or a sheet of plate steel,” Carra said.

“I’m absolutely convinced that mine is not the only household where Turk Diggler becomes a topic of delighted dinner time conversation. And I think everyone would be very interested in the next chapter of Turk Digger’s life if it involved a happy family.”

Carra is wondering: “Can we hook him up? Can we get him a girlfriend?”

He said he plans to reach out to Alberta Fish and Wildlife to ask whether that makes sense.

The department said in a statement that officers respond to public safety concerns involving wildlife, which does not apply to Turk.

Carra has also asked his neighbour, biologist Brian Keating, for advice. Keating creates nature films and podcasts through a not-for-profit he co-founded, Great Big Nature, and regularly discusses wildlife on CBC Calgary.

Keating said Turk is a wild turkey that seems to have been hand-raised.

“That’s why it’s so friendly,” he said.

“I’m amazed that it has survived over the winter just because the city’s a dangerous place for an animal that tastes as good as a turkey to be wandering around.”

Keating said spring is when a turkey’s hormones begin to kick in.

“This is the breeding season and Turk is looking for a girl,” he said. “The juvenile delinquent in me says, ‘Yeah, let’s get him a girl.’”

He said it should be possible to procure a female turkey from a breeder in Alberta.

And Turk has a lot going for him as a potential suitor.

“His plumage is glistening with all kinds of iridescent colours. His wattle is excellent — it’s a beautiful red colour,” said Keating.

If he were wooing a female, Keating said Turk would put on quite a show.

“He would spread his tail. He would strut in front of her. He would give all kinds of gobbles.”

The deed itself would be done in just a moment.

But Keating questions whether it’s ethical to bring another bird into the mix. It’s a surprise that Turk has survived this long, and he’s not sure a mate or offspring would be as lucky.

“Are you just condemning a bird to death?”

Letting the season go by without a mate is no big deal for Turk, said Keating.

“He’ll just live another year and he’ll do it all again next year, looking for a girl.

“I think we should just enjoy Turk for who he is and what he is.”

Lauren Krugel, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Calgary

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Eva Pucci Couture in this file shot from May 29, 2019, when she came to Chilliwack asking for the public’s help in locating her missing son, Kristofer Shawn Couture. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Missing man’s mom still hopeful, 2 years after his car was found abandoned at Chilliwack trail

‘I wish someone would come forward with insight into your whereabouts,’ pleads mom of missing man

Chilliwack is expected to be among the province’s hottest real estate markets in 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick)
Chilliwack housing market projected to be among B.C.’s hottest in 2021

B.C. Real Estate Association projects Chilliwack and District to grow by 17.1 per cent

Abbotsford tattoo artist Tanya Loewen has entered the Inked cover girl contest.
Abbotsford mother, tattoo artist enters Inked cover girl contest

Tanya Loewen, tattoo artist at Van Bree Tattoo, hoping to win big in magazine contest

Sheriff Avory Chapman was last seen Jan. 20 on Wellington Avenue in Chilliwack. (RCMP)
RCMP look for missing man last seen in downtown Chilliwack

21-year-old Sheriff Avory Chapman has been missing since Jan. 20

Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

A Cessna 170 airplane similar to the one pictured above is reported to be missing off the waters between Victoria and Washington State. Twitter photo/USCG
Canadian, American rescue crews searching for missing aircraft in waters near Victoria

The search is centered around the waters northeast of Port Angeles

Jonathon Muzychka and Dean Reber are wanted on Canada-wide warrants. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Convicted killer, robber at large after failing to return to facility: Victoria police

Dean Reber, 60, and Jonathon Muzychka, 43, may be together

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens during a postelection news conference in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
30% of B.C. recovery benefit applications held up in manual review

The province says 150 staff have been reassigned to help with manually reviewing applications

Adam Dergazarian, bottom center, pays his respect for Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, in front of a mural painted by artist Louie Sloe Palsino, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Kobe Bryant’s presence remains strong a year after his death

Tuesday marks the grim anniversary of the crash that took their lives

Surrey RCMP are investigating after a pedestrian was struck and killed at 183 Street and Highway 10 Friday night. (File photo)
Modelling of predicted transmission growth from the B117 COVID-19 variant in British Columbia. (Simon Fraser University)
COVID-19 variant predicted to cause ‘unmanageable’ case spike in B.C: report

SFU researchers predict a doubling of COVID-19 cases every two weeks if the variant spreads

RCMP officers wearing face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 stand by. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
RCMP appeal for witnesses after hit-and-run leaves girl, 17, in critical condition

The Metro Vancouver teenager was found unconscious and critically injured after being hit: police

The Brucejack mine is 65 km north of Stewart in northwestern B.C. (Pretivm Photo)
B.C. mine executives see bright gleam in post-COVID future

Low carbon drives demand for copper, steelmaking coal

Most Read