Can birds hold funerals for animals?
A video of a flock of turkeys circling around a dead cat in the middle of the street is making some people wonder.
Sharing the video above, a Twitter user from Boston, USA, wrote: “This is the craziest things I’ve ever seen.”
Some even associated this strange behaviour to a sinister act.
But as much as one would tend to anthropomorphise the birds, experts have a different answer.
Biologist Alan Karkeur told The Verge that turkeys were possibly performing a “predator inspection” – checking how determined the predator is to attack so that they can alert other animals about danger. It is a risky route of actually approaching the predator.
The turkeys, however, may not have realised that the predatory feline in this case was dead. Perhaps this is why, says Karkeur, they appear to be stuck in a cycle: “Maybe they are waiting to see if the cat wakes up?”
Gizmodo reported a 2013 video of a turkey circling around a headstone in Massachusetts.
Another debate the video sparked was over behaviour similar to that of crows, who gather around their fallen comrade and appear to mourn. But the National Geography article suggests that they’re trying to find out if there’s a threat that they can avoid in future.