Male turkeys are really into themselves, apparently.
One particularly confident turkey was captured on video in New Jersey obsessively circling a car, admiring himself in the shiny exterior for hours. A Mount Laurel resident noticed the wayward turkey strutting around her son’s new Honda Civic, apparently quite lovestruck with the vehicle — er, his own reflection — for an entire morning.
“I was laughing because it looked like he was looking it over to see if it was a good car… like he was shopping for a car,” she said. The turkey became quite possessive of this particular Honda and wouldn’t let her near it.
Juvenile “teenaged” turkeys, also called jakes, are known for these types of performances.
“The mate-seeking turkeys are often attracted to shiny surfaces, and will become enamored with their own reflections,” wildlife experts from the Department of Environmental Protection told ABC 6. It’s called “Crazy Jake Behavior” and typically occurs in the spring when the young turkeys are searching for mates.
It’s likely this fellow simply thought the image was a rival male, and was blissfully unaware of the fact that it was his own reflection. Whatever the reason, we have to admit their mating behavior is pretty entertaining.
Male turkeys are polygamous and will mate with as many hens as they can during the breeding season. They’ll strut their stuff by puffing their feathers, dragging their wings, and spreading out their tails. Males will also entice the females by gobbling, drumming, and spitting. I guess that’s what the ladies like.
Interestingly, males generally tend to court in groups rather than alone, with the dominant male exhibiting the most showy behavior. This has been shown to increase mating success — in one study, a male that courted in a group fathered six more eggs than those who wooed the females solo. Because the males that court together are related and tend to share genetic material, it’s a win for the entire group when the dominant male is successful.