If you’ve been gobbling up all of this wild turkey talk in Bloomington-Normal as of late, you might want to thank Cyndi Prosser and her neighbors in north Normal.
Prosser lives near Raab Road and Linden Street, not far from Constitution Trail. That’s where a female turkey set up her nest last spring, only to re-emerge this summer with seven baby turkeys. Together, they’ve been walking around Bloomington-Normal, captivating confused residents.
Prosser and her husband, John, first spotted the “Mama Turkey” on May 3. It took a little time to figure out it was a turkey, she said. (After all, they do live pretty close to the Pheasant Ridge subdivision.) Mama Turkey stuck around for a week, enjoying the sunflower seeds John was putting out for the squirrels. The squirrels didn’t like that.
“A week and a half later, she just disappeared,” Prosser said.
They worried she’d been eaten by a coyote.
Thankfully, there was no fowl play: In early July, Mama Turkey returned—this time joined by her seven babies. The Prossers and their neighbors continued feeding them.
Life with the turkey family was pretty entertaining, Prosser said. She got to watch them learn how to fly, eventually getting all the way up into their maple trees before flopping back down to earth. (That really upset the squirrels.) They even found their way onto a neighbor’s roof for a party.
Occasionally, they needed help. The babies would get trapped in Prosser’s garden, needing to be freed. One time, Prosser had to flag down drivers on Linden Street, urging them to be cautious as the turkeys crossed the road for the first time. (It’s unclear why they crossed the road.)
“It’s been really fun,” she said.
Around the third week of October, the turkeys left the neighborhood. Ever since, they’ve been spotted all over Normal, mostly near College Avenue between Towanda Avenue and Linden.
Last week, GLT asked Illinois State University associate professor (and bird expert) Angelo Capparella to explain why wild turkeys were suddenly showing up in Bloomington-Normal. He mentioned Mama Turkey’s nesting in north Normal, noting it’s apparently the byproduct of a successful state conservation effort.
The turkeys could not be reached for comment on this story.
GLT is tracking the turkeys on an interactive map. It’s stuffed with photos submitted by our users:
WGLT depends on financial support from users to bring you stories and interviews like this one. As someone who values experienced, knowledgeable, and award-winning journalists covering meaningful stories in central Illinois, please consider making a contribution.