Springfield, MO -- Vehicles approaching a stop sign are being confronted by a wild turkey in a Springfield, Missouri neighborhood. It pecks their bumpers, puffs up its feathers, pokes its beak above the hood and gobbles at drivers.
One driver exits his vehicle, expands his jacket and tries to run the turkey off.
This neighborhood appears to be the turkey's territory, and he wants to make sure you know it.
Morgan Kyle said the feathered fowl first appeared this past summer near her home off South Harvard Avenue in Springfield.
"He just showed up to our house and he would come back every single day," Kyle said.
The family started calling the turkey Richard, Kyle said.
"It’s just very fitting for him," Kyle said. "It sounds cool to yell when you’re frustrated, like ‘Oh, Richard!’"
For about a month or two, Richard disappeared, Kyle said.
"We thought maybe, like, Thanksgiving, you know, he got shot or something," Kyle said. "But, he came back and he’s back to being here more consistently."
Kyle began video recording her encounters with the bird about a month ago and posted them on social media. She started the hashtag #RichardDiaries to keep track of her posts.
Story continues below the gallery.
"I was getting a lot of feedback," she said. "People were thinking it was really funny."
Kyle said she noticed Richard started pecking at vehicles driving on the street about a month ago. Her mom, Jerri, started recording Richard, Kyle said. Her mom posted a video of Richard blocking her car on Feb. 15.
In the video, you can hear Jerri Kyle say: "OK, now he's pecking my car... Richard, we are moving... Richard, I am going out into the street. I'd really — Richard!"
"I just need a packet of ranch seasoning for what I have in my oven. That's all I need, Richard," Kyle's mother goes on to say in the video.
She was just trying to go to the store, but Richard was having none of it.
“He just doesn’t give a crap,” Morgan Kyle said. “He’s very confrontational.”
Richard has no fear of cars — often playing chicken — and will puff his feathers out to show that he’s the “alpha,” Morgan Kyle said.
"The minute I would park my car in the driveway, he would come running up to my car," she said. "If you start to drive away, he’ll race your car. I’ve had to park in the middle of the street to shoo him away.”
Although it appears Richard doesn’t like cars, he hasn’t run afoul of any foot traffic yet, Morgan Kyle said.
“He’s never been like aggressive with any person — it’s just the cars,” Morgan Kyle said. “He doesn’t like these cars that are kinda like taking over his street. He’s so ferocious, you know.”
“He’s just like a dog at heart,” she added.
Richard usually finds a spot in the Kyles’ front yard to sleep or somewhere else in the neighborhood, she said.
“He makes his rounds,” Morgan Kyle said.
Morgan Kyle said she is considering getting a “Turkey Crossing” sign.
“We just think he’s going to get hit one of these days,” Morgan Kyle said. “I hope not.”
Morgan Kyle has used corn to try to lure Richard away from blocking traffic, but that's probably just instilling bad behavior in him, said Ashley Schnake, urban wildlife biologist with the Missouri Department of Conservation.
"We’d like to discourage that behavior because when wildlife get fed and then that feeding stops, they do tend to get more aggressive because they associate people and/or cars with food," Schnake said. "If he sees people, he associates, ‘OK, every person is supposed to give me food.’ Or if people are throwing food out of their car, ‘Every car is supposed to give me food.’
"Any animal can get a trained behavior for food as a reward," she continued.
Schnake said she understands that people may be trying to help the turkey by feeding it; however, it may not be the best thing to do.
"It’s sometimes what we do to try to help wildlife that might ultimately harm the wildlife in return," Schnake said. "It’s getting a trained behavior where he’s always going to associate a car or a person with food and then if he doesn’t get that food, then it might turn into more aggression against people."
This time of year is also breeding season, which may be why the turkey has become so territorial, Schnake said.
"He might be seeing himself in the bumper and thinking it’s a different male turkey and doesn’t want that male turkey in that area," Schnake said.
Schnake encourages drivers to use their best judgment if they're confronted with the turkey.
"If you can slow down for the turkey, that’s great, but if it’s going to cause a traffic issue or an accident, human life always comes first," Schnake said. "Do not swerve or stop for the turkey if it’s going to cause an accident."
The conservation department was made aware of this particular turkey after several phone calls and initiated its "nuisance turkey protocol," Schnake said. Officials ask things like if there's been any artificial feeding and habitat changes. If the turkey still sticks around, a department employee is dispatched to "harass" it, she said.
"It’d be chasing it, getting it out of the yard. Just being loud and big towards the turkey. Not shying away from it but not being nice to it either," Schnake said. "We bother the turkey so much where it’s not worth the turkey hanging out and it moves on to another location and that behavior stops."
Richard has already been "harassed" once by a conservation department official, and they will wait to see if further actions are needed, Schnake said.
"This week or next week, we might take further actions — maybe harass it more or try to trap the turkey," Schnake said.
The best advice for people when encountering wildlife is to "let them be," Schnake said.
This article originally appeared on Springfield News-Leader: Town's tires aren't safe from Richard, an angry wild turkey