5 Remarkable Videos of Wild Turkeys

See why Ben Franklin called the wild turkey a "bird of courage."

Tom turkey (Meleagris gallopavo)
Kristian Bell / Getty Images

The wild turkey is one of America's most tenacious birds, known for fearlessly confronting and even chasing away potential threats. Benjamin Franklin famously preferred it as the national symbol over a bald eagle, writing in 1784 that "the Turk'y is in comparison a much more respectable Bird."

Americans still respect turkeys, although on Thanksgiving, we tend to focus more on their flavor than their bravery. The gumption that won over Ben Franklin has been largely bred out of domesticated turkeys, creating a popular stereotype of plump, helpless butterballs. But anyone who has encountered a wild turkey knows they're not to be taken lightly.

So regardless of whether you eat a turkey this Thanksgiving, consider taking a moment to appreciate the mettle and moxie of these birds. And to help with that, here are five clips that convey the lively character of wild turkeys.

Turkey vs. traffic: Filmed in Walnut Creek, California, this turkey seems to have claimed a city street — and it doesn't have much tolerance for trespassing cars:

Going postal, part 1: Gobbling at cars is one thing, but some turkeys hold a special grudge against the U.S. Postal Service. (Maybe they resent its eagle logo?) Several U.S. cities have faced this problem in recent years, including Grand Haven, Michigan, and Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The latter turkey can be seen in the video by the Cape Cod Times:

Going postal, part 2: Here's another mailman-hating turkey on the prowl, deftly ignoring other cars as it pursues its favorite prey:

Terrible Tom: Duffy Kelly, a TV news producer in Texas, was recently "attacked" while investigating reports of an aggressive turkey. Her reaction is a bit dramatic ("He's got me trapped in the car. Oh my God!"), but hilarious nonetheless. And while Kelly is clearly outmatched, at least a mail truck gets to take some revenge:

Talking turkey: Even when they're not lashing out at postal workers and journalists, wild turkeys can still be ornery and obstinate, as this final video shows: