Nature Photography Blog

John Slonina is a professional nature photographers. His company Slonina Nature Photography leads instructional photo tours and workshops throughout the United States. His photo tours visits several national parks which include Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Mt Rainier, Olympic, Acadia, Great Smoky Mountains, Mt Rainier, Olympic, Arches, Canyonlands, Everglades, Big Cypress, Katmai and Lake Clark.


I got chased by a Wild Turkey


I just finished a photo tour of the Great Smoky Mountains. It was a fun group. We had a great time. We photographed bears with cubs, great rivers, and other landscapes.

It was our last day and we got stuck in a traffic jam in Cades Cove. This is not that common on a weekday in April. What is causing this jam I wondered? Must be bears.

As we drove down the one way road it ended up being a male turkey blocking the cars. I drove my van past the turkey and pulled over. It was a beautiful male in breeding plumage. Everyone in my group bailed out of the van to photograph this roadside Tom.

As soon as I got out of the van. The Turkey ran towards me and i backed off and i continued. He chased me to the other side of the road. The more I backed off the quicker he came. It was noisy with the turkey was vocalizing and the laughter of the people in my group watching me fight for my life. I yelled Thanksgiving and he still didn’t back out.

I gotta admit i never felt in any danger and it gave everybody a good laugh.


Although not super common, wild turkeys have been observed to chase people such as myself. Turkeys like many other creatures go through a breeding season where they exhibit grand bright coloring of their feathers. During this time however, they also have to fight for mates quite often. Most of the time male turkeys will become more aggressive to really anything and will fight/compete with other male turkeys over female turkeys. Usually when someone is attacked, that is because the wild turkey perceives them as a threat.

What to do if a turkey attacks. You have two choices.

1.) intimidate them back — Yell, Waive your arms etc.
2.) Get ready for an early thanksgiving dinner.

Victory Dance

Victory Dance