He had his own Facebook page, a line of branded products on ETSY, a huge social media presence and followers who tracked his every move.
Sadly, it appears this famous inner-city mascot has been has been silenced.
According to police reports, Turk – the famous wild turkey living in the SE community of Ramsay for over a year – was attacked and killed by coyotes July 23 in his latest roost, the NE community of Bridgeland.
Turk attracted huge attention during his recent ramblings outside Ramsay. His Facebook page, with 6,000+ followers – is full of condolences. Admirers took countless photos of his journey and his page is filled with selfies and other tributes to this urban renegade.
He spent recent months spreading his wings in search of a girlfriend and travelling north and west of the Bow River and well beyond his usual turf. He had lots of opportunity to cross major intersections when traffic was almost non-existent during the peak of COVID anxiety.
Condolences for Turk pour in
While his free-roaming antics – including pausing for photos in Kensington and Eau Claire – a Ramsay resident said she worried about his unfamiliar surroundings and reliance on local residents offering food.
“I’m very sorry to report that there is evidence that sometime in the early morning hours that Turk had been taken by what we believe to be a coyote. Maintenance at Columbus Manor in Bridgeland kindly contacted me this morning let me know,” said Avery Maxwell, a yoga instructor who took kindly to Turk and started his own Facebook page a year ago .
The Ramsay Turkey had 6,000+ followers from across the city and around the world. The condolences are pouring in … but before this incident, it was clear the turkey was in good health.
“Unfortunately this is often a fate shared by many animals living wild, and it also unfortunately even sometimes happens in animals kept in farms, zoos or sanctuaries,” said Maxwell in a Facebook statement.
“It’s true that Turk has been lucky enough to thrive well beyond what would have been his original fate, and had so many interesting adventures and had so many who loved him.”
Turk was a Calgary celebrity
This local celebrity had trundled across Memorial Drive, downtown roads, over to Kensington and even the Zoo flyover enroute to the TELUS Spark Science Centre.
He spent his last few months hanging out with residents of a cluster long-term care and seniors’ facilities in Bridgeland.
“We’re actually quite devastated, he gave us a lot of joy. I am quite upset,” said Marie, a Bridgeland resident and senior who confessed to leaving Turk some occasional carrot peels (and did not give her full name because she is embarrassed about leaving him treats.)
“I really just wanted him to be safe.”
Followers on Turk Tracker, a site that monitored his sightings and offered a GPS/based digital map to mark whereabouts, traced him downtown, into Kensington, and most recently in the northeast community of Bridgeland. Posts of location are back-dated so there’s no deluge of people trying to find him.
Turk proponents have been vocal about asking Turk enthusiasts, new and old, not to feed the bird so he can survive without human handouts. There is worry because he’s most recently been hanging out – and living near – senior residences where he is adored. And fed.
“I have been blessed by his presence,” wrote one follower with Turk in the background.
“I have been on the lookout for Turk, and today was my day,” wrote another.
This was not just a vanity project for one eccentric wild turkey. The sale of Turk merchandise has raised $3,370 in proceeds for the Calgary Food Bank and Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation.