Why do turkeys walk in crazy circles?

May 17, 2017 4:18 pm Last Updated: May 17, 2017 4:18 pm

So, turkeys aren’t the brightest of birds. Occasionally they get curious about something, and will run circles around it because of confusion.

They’re usually completely benign objects, like trees:

Or, often trees

Sometimes trees in weird places:

And here they are circling a dead cat.

This video was so bizarre it went viral and prompted a bunch of responses from experts.

Geoff LeBaron, the Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird Count director, told the Washington Post:

“Turkeys aren’t the brightest of birds,” LeBaron said. “I suspect they recognize the cat as a potential predator, and are circling out of curiosity or wariness, just to make sure it stays dead.”

Most experts said the same thing.

“They’re just making sure that it’s no longer a threat,” Mark Hatfield, wildlife biologist at the National Wild Turkey Federation told Gizmodo. “It’s more of a curiosity type of thing. Turkeys are very basic.”

As to why they circle trees, we’re not completely sure.

Tom Hughes, a wildlife biologist who is director of research and science for the National Wild Turkey Federation, told Washington Post: “They’ve been known to circle snakes this way, too.”