‘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

Christmas Lights
This nativity scene at the home of Paul Biro, organizer of the Summerland Drive-By Light Up, was just one of many parts of his elaborate display. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
VIDEO: Summerland holiday lights on display

Drive-by light-up on Nov. 27 showed some of the many festive season decorations

Penticton RCMP arrested a 33-year-old man they are calling a prolific offender Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. (Black Press file photo)
Police chase leads to arrest of Penticton ‘prolific offender’

Suspect with stolen bike worth $10,000 fled on foot, tracked by police dog

Santa will meet kids on Zoom this year. (OSNS photo)
Visits with Santa go virtual this year in Penticton

Cherry Lane mall has partnered with OSNS to bring Old St. Nick into your living room via Zoom

A man wearing a face mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19 walks past a mural in Vancouver on Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
212 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health over the weekend

A total of 490 cases remain active; 15 in hospital

Wildfire management underway in Penticton. (BC Wildfire Services)
Wildfire prevention work gets underway in Penticton

Three Blind Mice, the Banks of Dartmouth, the Esplanade and Penticton Creek targeted areas

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest weekend of COVID-19 pandemic with 46 deaths; more than 2,300 cases

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides COVID-19 update

Fossil finds at Mt. Stephen. (Photo: Sarah Fuller/Parks Canada)
Extreme hiking, time travel and science converge in the Burgess Shale

Climb high in the alpine and trace your family tree back millions of years – to our ocean ancestors

Join Rob Dinwoodie and bandmates for a Cowboy Christmas, Dec. 11 and 12 at Vernon and District Performing Arts Center. Seating is cabaret style on the stage for an intimate concert. (Contributed)
North Okanagan cowboys go virtual for Christmas

Cowboy Christmas streamed Dec. 11-25

Vernon is getting in the Christmas spirit with many homes decorating with lights and extras. (Caitlin Clow - Morning Star)
Christmas lights tour mapped out by Vernon realtor

More than 20 of the community’s best lit houses make up annual tradition

Kettle bells sit aligned in an indoor fitness studio. (PIxabay.com)
1 COVID-19 case at a B.C. fitness studio leads to 104 more infections, 6 school exposures

According to case data released by Fraser Health, one case of the novel coronavirus carries a big impact

Vehicles drive past a display thanking essential workers in Burnaby, B.C. on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
B.C. changing COVID-19 case reporting as virus spread continues

Manual counting takes more time, leads to errors

Salmon Arm RCMP say some patrons have been harassing local businesses over mask requirements. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)
Police urge respect after Salmon Arm businesses report being harassed over mask rules

Wearing of masks in businesses and public spaces is currently mandated by the province

Salmon Arm RCMP officers attended two public COVID-19 demonstrations held in Salmon Arm on Saturday, Nov. 28.  (File photo)
Organizer of Salmon Arm COVID-19 demonstration fined $2,000 by RCMP

Police said some participants weren’t aware of the public health order prohibiting gatherings

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Most Read