Wild turkey breaks into rural Chippewa County homeIt began as an evening like most others, but it took a strange turn when Jennifer Ludwig's daughter noticed the broken window at their Chippewa County home.
By: By Andrew Dowd, The Leader-Telegram, Eau Claire, Wis., Superior Telegram
It began as an evening like most others, but it took a strange turn when Jennifer Ludwig's daughter noticed the broken window at their Chippewa County home.
As Ludwig pulled into her driveway at a little before 5 p.m. Tuesday with her children, Bailey, 6, and Brecken, 1, in the vehicle, her daughter pointed out the shattered living room window.
"I was thinking someone might have broke in but hoping it wasn't," Ludwig said.
Before peeking into the house, Ludwig looked around outside, seeing that all the doors were still shut. Nothing seemed amiss except for the broken window.
Ludwig opened a door leading into the house and saw the culprit -- a wild turkey -- still wandering around inside her living room.
"I peaked in, saw it in there, shut the door right away, got right out," she said.
The tom turkey was bloodied and missing most of its feathers, said Ludwig, who estimated the bird weighed 25 to 30 pounds.
The broken double-paned picture window is a few feet off the ground, which leads Ludwig to believe the turkey flew into it sometime during the day while she was at work.
"It's unusual, yes, but not necessarily unheard of," Ed Culhane, a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources spokesman, said of turkeys flying into homes.
While turkeys don't do much flying, they do perch in trees at night and will take flight if chased by something fast. Culhane suspects the turkey was flying from a predator and, like many other birds, mistook a reflection in a window as more habitat it could fly through.
Ludwig's town of Wheaton house is on a wooded lot and turkeys congregate in a field across the street, but she said they don't usually venture toward the house.
Neighbors caught the turkey for her in a big fishing net and got it outside. From there, the bird escaped into the woods, and they last saw it crossing the street to join the rest of a flock.
Ludwig's living room, hallway and kitchen were littered with glass shards, turkey blood, feathers and some of the bird's droppings.
"The inside of our house looks like a bomb exploded. There's glass everywhere," she said.
The damage was bad enough that Ludwig's insurance is paying for her family to stay at a hotel for a few nights while the home is cleaned and repaired. The family hopes to be back home sometime this week.
The insurance of the owner of the property where Ludwig lives will pay to replace the window, blinds and carpeting. Broken glass and turkey blood also ruined Ludwig's furniture, but she said her renter's insurance will cover that.
The turkey didn't raid the refrigerator or pantry, but it did nose open the cupboard underneath the sink, only to find cleaning supplies.
Based on losing most of its feathers and cuts it suffered from the broken glass, Ludwig doubts the bird survived for long.
While odds are that a predator would pick off an injured bird like that, Culhane said there's always the possibility it could survive.
A turkey hunter himself, Culhane said it is not uncommon for a turkey to survive a shotgun blast or two before dying.
"A turkey is a big, tough bird," he said.
Dowd can be reached at 715-833-9204, 800-236-7077 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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