When it comes to Mother Nature, ‘bizarre’ is the word of the day. Probably most of us have witnessed some sort of strange animal behavior like dogs barking at the moon or cats staring insistently into a corner. How would you feel seeing a bunch of turkeys moving in circles around the body of a recently deceased cat?
Recently, the residents of a quiet neighborhood from Boston bore witness to a most unusual event. Out on the street, at least a dozen turkeys were circling around what appeared to be the corpse of a cat, most likely ran over by a passing motorist. Oddly enough, none of the turkeys seemed to mind performing the ceremony, which involved following the member in front of him.
It goes without saying that this kind of incident couldn’t have gone unnoticed, so a passerby pulled out his phone, recorded the whole ritual, and uploaded the video on his Twitter account. The video which depicted the strange and almost ritualistic dance was shared countless of times and even attracted the attention of animal behavior researchers.
After studying the video, Alan Krakauer of the University of California stated that there’s nothing supernatural about a bunch of turkeys circling around a dead cat. The biologist declared that the turkeys in question merely approached the predator in order to assess its posture.
Although it might seem a bit risky, this type of behavior helps the prey discourage the predator. Krakauer also explained that this ritual also helps the prey better understand the predator.
Basically, the turkeys gathered around the dead feline in an attempt to determine its intention. As for the circling part, the biologist said that grouping increases the prey’s chance of getting out alive. Furthermore, it’s not uncommon for birds such as turkeys, pheasants, and even chicken to get stuck in a never-ending loop, as the whole purpose of this exercise is to follow the one in front of you.
The University of California researcher revealed that he had seen this type of behavior before when a group of turkey circle around a coyote.
Of course, there’s no fun in a purely scientific explanation, so the researcher ended his speech by saying that the turkeys probably tried to perform a dance of yore in an attempt to bring the dead feline back to life. Who knows? Maybe the birds were part of an animal necromancy group.
Image source: Flickr