Mutant ‘smoke phase’ turkey seen roaming Eugene (and other tales of wild wildlife)


Mitch Sherwood shared this photo of wild turkeys – including the smoke gray mutant – near West Amazon Drive in South Eugene via

EUGENE, Ore. – People continue to spot a wild turkey with light gray and white plumage in South Eugene.

The coloration is a mutation known as “smoke phase” in wild turkey circles.

“While certain domestic strains also boast light or white plumage, the smoke phase is known to occur on occasion in wild turkey populations,” said Mikal Cline, the upland game bird program coordinator for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Cline took a look at photos of the bird and cited “The Wild Turkey: Biology and Management”, a 1992 book by James. G. Dickson.

“Several color abnormalities appear in wild turkeys,” Dickson writes. “The smoke gray mutant, an incomplete albino, is the most commonly reported color abnormality. Complete albinos, characterized by pink eyes, appear in domestic turkeys but have not been reported in wild populations.”

Bears and Cougars

Residents of Springfield recently received a warning from police about a cougar seen trotting up a gravel road, not far from homes and schools.

A biologist said the big cat is likely following potential prey, like turkey and deer.

And Eugene residents have reported a bear pawing through garbage, roaming around the neighborhood and crossing 30th Avenue in traffic in recent weeks.

Oh, Deer

Let’s not forget the deer that frequent neighborhoods on the urban-wildland interface or rural homes.

Pamela Speigel shared photos of an orphaned doe interacting with a dog in Tenmile, Oregon.


A ‘chupacabra‘ (actually a large rodent known as a Patagonia mara) found on the loose in Eugene back in 2016 now lives at the Oregon Zoo.

And then there are snakes.

And not just the rattlers that live on Spencer Butte: Who can forget the snake that showed up in a Eugene family’s dishwasher?!

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