The West Bloomfield Police Department posted this image of Darryl recently.

The West Bloomfield Police Department posted this image of Darryl recently.

Photo provided by the West Bloomfield Police Department


Darryl the turkey sighted in West Bloomfield

By: Sherri Kolade | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published December 5, 2018

Darryl the turkey is a sight to see.

The full-bodied, plump turkey was spotted in West Bloomfield Township throughout the month of November and brought delight to many in the township and beyond, garnering thousands of comments on social media.    

After the West Bloomfield Police Department posted some light-hearted photos and captions on its Facebook page, a flood of comments came in, along with other forms of attention from the media and on social media.

“We’ve got a lot of positive (attention) from the media talking about Darryl, just light-hearted fun,” West Bloomfield Deputy Chief Curt Lawson said, adding that Darryl was named by police dispatchers, who initially started to hear about him over a month ago.

“This all started in the beginning of November. Our dispatchers were getting 30 calls a day in reference to Darryl walking into the roadway or standinding on side of the road.”

On Nov. 27 the Police Department posted that the township has received numerous calls about a turkey hanging out in the area of Middebelt Road, south of Walnut Lake Road.

“We have named him Darryl, and he wants everyone to know that he is fine. Watch your speed and keep off your phone, we don't want to injure our feathered friend,” the post reads.

Patrick Endres, a parks naturalist and nature camp administrator for the West Bloomfield Parks and Recreation Commission stated in an email that wild turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo) are an “amazing bird” and a success story for conservation.

“Wild turkeys are diurnal, or active during the day,” he said, adding that at night, they will fly into trees to protect themselves from predators.

Male turkeys are called “toms,” and females are called “hens.”

Endres said that wild turkeys’ diets consist of insects, grasses, nuts and berries.

“Their preferred habitat are mixed wood with adjacent open fields,” he said.

The Police Department posted a photo of Darryl on Facebooik Nov. 30 next to AMC’s “The Walking Dead” actor  Norman Reedus, who plays Daryl Dixon.

“Friday Fun Fact. Darryl the West Bloomfield Turkey is named after another famous Daryl. We added the extra “R” so you could tell them apart,” the post reads.

Lawson added that the Police Department has not seen Darryl as of late.

“We’ve put him — in a joking way — he’s been put in witness protection,” Lawson said, adding that Darryl has brought a lot of “great feedback and communication with the community.”

Some commenters said that Darryl should move to the north end of the township because there are over 12 turkeys who wander the neighborhoods around Hiller and Greer roads.

Another commenter said that Darryl has been hanging out on that corner for over two months. Sometimes he has a turkey friend with him.

One commenter called for Darryl to become the new township mascot.

On Nov. 27, a woman posted that she had an encounter with the bird, exiting her vehicle near Maple and Middlebelt roads to try to prevent him from getting hit by a car. She reportedly chased him around her car twice, and then others helped her shoo him across the road.

She added that before the traffic light had changed, Darryl was right back in the middle of traffic.

Endres said that wild turkeys are also known for being fast on the ground and in the air over short distances.

“They are able to reach speeds up to 55 mph,” he said. “During the late 1800s, wild turkeys were thought to be completely gone from the state due to unregulated hunting and habitat loss.”

Endres said that efforts to reintroduce these bird back to the state of Michigan date back to 1919 and continued into the 1980s.

“In 2014, the state Department of Natural Resources reported that wild turkeys are living in every county in the Lower Peninsula of Michigan and in some counties the Upper Peninsula.

“Turkeys (have been) seen in West Bloomfield and have been spotted in Drake Sports Park, West Bloomfield Woods Nature Preserve, and Marshbank Park,” he said. “Residents have also reported seeing turkeys near roadways on occasion. This may be due to them trying to move between habitats or searching for food.”

Darryl, of West Bloomfield, could not be reached for comment.

For more information about wild turkeys, go to www.michigandnr.com.