We haven't seen a video this unnerving since the "kangaroo zombocalypse", but as is the case with most animal oddities, there is a logical explanation for this "turkey seance"

Ok, but really.


Twitter user The Real J Davis happened upon the creepy conga line on the streets of Boston, and while we love his suggestion that the turkeys were attempting to give the cat its 10th life, University of California, Davis bird behaviour expert Dr Alan Krakauer offers another explanation: 

"It's most likely predator inspection behaviour," he told NPR. They might not rank among the most menacing of birds, but turkeys do occasionally opt for fight (or at least hold your ground) over flight. Approaching a potential predator when you have strength in numbers can persuade it to move along. "A lot like a group of small songbirds mobbing a hawk or owl they have discovered," Krakauer adds. 

But why the game of "round robin"? This, Krakauer explains, is something of a feedback loop. The animals likely approached in single file, and as they circled up, each bird simply continued following the one in front of it.

"During my studies of wild turkeys I watched a coyote trot through a group of turkeys — the turkeys gave it some space but acted alert in a similar manner to this," Krakauer told The Verge. "In that instance the coyote kept walking and the turkeys went back to their business. However, in this video, the dead cat 'predator' doesn't get up to leave, and the turkeys appear to be kind of stuck in their pattern of behaviour."


ht NPR

Top header image: tomosuke214/Flickr