In 37 years of hunting, David Dukich has seen a lot of animal activity, but wild turkeys pouncing on a car was a first.

Dukich was driving Thursday on Opossumtown Pike near Sundays Lane when he saw two tom turkeys begin to peck and claw a stopped Greg's Driving School car in front of him. One bird jumped on the car's hood and used his spurs and beak to scratch and strike the windshield, Dukich said.

The feathered creatures then circled the car, and as it slowly moved ahead, the birds chased it.

"Then I pulled forward, and as soon as they saw me, they let the other car go and came after me," Dukich said.

The wild birds recently chased several members of Faith United Church of Christ on Opossumtown Pike, prompting the church to issue a notice in its newsletter to be wary of the wild turkeys.

Pastor Katie Penic saw the wild birds chase several church members who had to run inside the church, she said.

"We just saw it as a bizarre and funny thing," she said, "just as long as nobody gets hurt."

Thursday's experience with the birds was an unforgettable one for student driver Justin Ceresini, 21.

"I'd never really seen turkeys up that close before, and I didn't know what they were," Ceresini said. "I was nervous. I just thought they were some kind of bird.

"It was pretty wild. I was like, what do I do? I didn't want to just go because I didn't want to run over the turkeys."

Ceresini "panicked a little, but he survived," driving teacher Elena Acosta said. "He didn't even know what it was. I guess unless they are plucked and frozen, they don't know. "

The encounter made for a great story for his grandparents, Ceresini said.

"They were like, 'What? Attacked by turkeys?' and I said, yeah. It certainly is an unforgettable experience," he noted.

In her eight years teaching driving on Opossumtown Pike, Acosta had never before confronted turkeys, she said.

"I was afraid they were going to puncture the tire and we would be stuck, and we couldn't get out" of the car, Acosta said.

Ceresini did not want another turkey experience when he returned to driving class Friday, so Acosta scheduled a lesson in parallel parking.

Dukich said he has seen wild turkeys attack other birds and deer before, and even a jogger, but never saw them damage a car. And he has seen domesticated turkeys attack people, but not wild birds.

The pecking left a few scratches on both cars, but Dukich said the birds' behavior was hilarious.

"When you saw it, you couldn't help but laugh," he said.

Asked why he didn't take pictures, Dukich said he was laughing so hard he didn't think about photos.

'Exciting, but pretty scary'

Several Faith United members were cooking turkeys in the kitchen recently for a community supper when they saw a group of large turkeys in the churchyard, Debra Wilcox said.

"I don't know if it was divine interaction that they showed up, or if they were there to rescue their friends," Wilcox joked. "But they were chest-bumping against each other and running around."

Wilcox said she tried to get as close as possible to take pictures using her cellphone.

"I was thinking if I got around a tree, they wouldn't see me, but I underestimated how intelligent they are," Wilcox said. "As soon as they heard my camera click, they slowly turned their head and began to run toward me.

"It was exciting, but pretty scary," she said. "I hadn't run that fast in years."

The turkeys were beautiful, Wilcox said. They looked like Dr. Seuss characters, with multicolored blue, red and white heads.

"But if they're willing to attack a car like that, imagine what they would do to a human," Wilcox said. "Try explaining that to people in the emergency room, but our church motto is 'everyone is welcome,' turkeys included."

Several people thought the aggressive birds were protecting their territory in mating season.

Wild turkey biologist Bob Long of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources agreed.

"We haven't had a lot of reports of wild turkeys attacking people, but this is the time of the year when male gobblers' hormones start going," Long said.

Aggressive wild turkeys are not unheard of, he said.

Dukich has seen the toms chasing the younger male jakes to keep them from mating with the hens, he said.

Frederick County Animal Control Director Harold Domer said about 80 percent of Frederick County property is agricultural, and encountering wildlife should come as no surprise. He said, however, that most wildlife want to stay as far away from humans as humans want to stay from wildlife. Dukich did not call the game warden about the encounter, he said, because he wants the large flock around for a scheduled April 18 to May 23 turkey hunt.

Dukich has perfected his turkey call.

Toms gobble to call the hens in the spring, Dukich said, and when he gobbles, they come toward him to fight off other toms.

"Or, if I want to be sweet and sexy, I cluck like a hen" by using a mouthpiece, he said. ___

Loading Slideshow...
  • Mice

    It seems strange to worry about the disappearance of animals many people consider pests. Nevertheless, dozens of mouse subspecies are going extinct around the world. For example, the <a href="http://articles.latimes.com/2012/nov/09/local/la-me-pendleton-mouse-20121110" target="_blank">Pacific pocket mouse</a> is sitting on some of the most desirable coastal real estate in California. Fortunately, this little guy is protected by conservation regulations strong enough to deter developers from pursuing building projects in coastal lands worth millions of dollars, causing projects to be put on hold or completely shut down to insure the health and safety of its habitat.

  • Monkeys

    Hunting and habitat loss are two reasons Spider monkeys in Central America are disappearing. <a href="http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/spider-monkey/" target="_blank">Spider monkeys</a> require large areas of forest for a healthy habitat and have been subject to population decline due to deforestation in areas of Costa Rica, Panama, El Salvador and Belize. Spider monkeys have a slow reproductive cycle and are no longer living in areas where they were commonly found in the early 1900s. <em><strong>CORRECTION:</strong> A previous version of this slide showed a squirrel monkey.</em>

  • Wolves

    Wolves, the largest cousin of the canine family, are a very important part of the cycle of life. North America's Gray wolves are what biologists call "keystone predators," meaning they are an essential element in their ecosystem. <a href="http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/wolf/?source=A-to-Z" target="_blank">Gray wolves</a> are hearty and highly adaptable, but due to poaching and habitat loss across America, their numbers have fallen alarmingly low.

  • Armadillos

    Closely related to sloths and anteaters, armadillos are a unique species with around 20 different subspecies. One variety, the <a href="http://www.earthsendangered.com/profile-11.html" target="_blank">Giant armadillo</a>, is close to extinction in their wild habitats of South America. Armadillos live in burrows they dig in the ground, so preservation of their habitat is essential to their continued health and quality of life. Overhunting and urbanization of habitat are causes of their decreased numbers to date.

  • Corals

    Many people don't even think of corals as living creatures, but they are key to the survival of entire ecosystems. <a href="http://www.fau.edu/facilities/ehs/info/elkhorn_staghorn_corals.php" target="_blank">Elkhorn and Staghorn stony coral</a> species are the first coral organisms to be added to the Endangered Species Act and are currently classified as "threatened." Staghorn coral, or <em>Acropora cervicornis</em>, has lost 80 to 90 percent of its reef populations around the world in the past few decades.

  • Horses

    How is it possible that horses are endangered? <a href="http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/przewalskis-horse/?source=A-to-Z" target="_blank">Przewalski's horses</a>, an equine subspecies found in Mongolia, were determined extinct in the wild in 1966. Scientists have been able to reintroduce the species to its native habitat in recent years, but the free-range population is only a little more than 300. The total number of Przewalski's horses in existence today is approximately 1,500.

  • Alligators

    Residing in North American wetlands, the <a href="http://www.esa.org/esablog/ecology-in-policy/the-american-alligator-and-its-importance-to-the-florida-everglades/" target="_blank">American Alligator</a> is listed as a lower-risk endangered species. Conservation efforts have helped alligator populations rise in recent years, but they are still being hunted for skin and meat across the southeast.

  • Sheep

    Despite their massive curling horns, Bighorn sheep aren't safe from extinction. One of the three sheep subspecies, the <a href="http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/species/mammals/Sierra_Nevada_bighorn_sheep/index.html" target="_blank">Sierra Nevada Bighorn sheep</a>, is currently listed as endangered. In the early 1900s, as many as 2 million Bighorn sheep could be found in California and other regions of the U.S. Now fewer than 70,000 live in those areas.

  • Chinchillas

    Chinchillas, the soft-furred rodents commonly found in pet stores, are disappearing in their natural habitats. Up to 90 percent of <a href="http://www.wildchinchillas.org/" target="_blank">wild chinchillas</a> have been lost in the past 20 years. Unfortunately, their pelts have been in high demand for decades. Being listed as an endangered species helped stop commercial trade of wild chinchilla fur, but they are still pursued by poachers in South America.

  • Hawks

    The hawk is one of the most common birds found in North America, so it is shocking that any of its subspecies would be in danger of extinction. However, one subspecies, the Puerto Rican Broad-Winged hawk, is listed as endangered wherever it is found. Their numbers in their native habitat have been estimated as few as 100 birds. <em>(Pictured: <a href="http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/106003502/0" target="_blank">The Broad-Winged hawk,</em> Buteo platypterus</a><em>) </em>

  • Ferrets

    The Black-Footed ferret is one of the most endangered animals in America. The Black-Footed ferret's diet consists almost entirely of prairie dogs, which unfortunately have decreased significantly in number since the early 1900s, when populations were targeted by farmers and land owners who viewed them as pests. By the 1970,s Black-Footed ferrets were assumed to be extinct in the wild, but in the 1980s a colony of ferrets was found in Wyoming and were heavily monitored. The later generations of the ferrets were captured and placed in a protective breeding program after plague and canine distemper killed the majority of their colony.

  • Zebras

    Zebras may be a common sight in zoos around the U.S., but they are rapidly declining in their native habitats. A subspecies of zebra found in Africa, Grevy's zebra, was listed "threatened" in 1979. As the largest and wildest of the three zebra subspecies, Grevy's zebra populations are decreasing at an alarming rate due to habitat fragmentation and agricultural livestock overgrazing.

  • Cockatoos

    Salmon-Crested cockatoos were listed as a threatened species in 2011 wherever they occur in the world. The Fish and Wildlife Service listed this subspecies of cockatoos in danger of extinction due to illegal logging and pet-trade trapping in areas of Indonesia.

  • Ocelots

    Ocelots, twice the size of a domestic cat found in Central America and North America, are known for their beautiful dappled coat, which is coveted by hunters. Until 1996, Ocelots were on the whole listed as a threatened species, but were recently reranked as "least concern" by the 2008 IUCN Red List. One of the 11 subspecies is currently listed as endangered in North America.

  • Snakes

    Garden-variety garter snakes are very common, but in California one subspecies has been listed as endangered since 1969. Pollution, urban development and pet-trade capture are thought to be causes of population decline over the past century.

  • Deer

    Twenty-three subspecies of deer are listed as endangered and are disappearing from the world. Most notably, Key deer, found only in the Florida Keys, were almost completely eradicated by the mid-1900s. Their populations have increased to upward of 800 individuals in recent years, but more than 50 deer are killed by drivers every year, accounting for almost 70 percent of annual deaths.

  • Butterflies

    Pesticides and urbanization are a couple reasons butterflies are becoming more scarce in North America. In fact, 27 types of butterflies are threatened or endangered in the world. <em>(Pictured: <a href="http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/species/invertebrates/Miami_blue_butterfly/index.html" target="_blank">Miami Blue butterfly</a>)</em>

  • Snails

    Just because the snail is able to carry his home on his back doesn't mean he's protected from extinction. There are over 80 snail subspecies listed as threatened or endangered through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Snails are in danger due to climate change, pollution and urban development. <em>(Pictured: A <a href="http://www.doc.govt.nz/conservation/native-animals/invertebrates/powelliphanta-snails/" target="_blank">Powelliphanta snail)</a></em>

  • Bats

    Bulmer's Fruit Bats, found in New Guinea, are a critically endangered subspecies. Their populations were healthy in the 1970s when they were targeted by hunters. Within 10 years almost all Bulmer's Fruit Bats had been destroyed due to habitat destruction, and they were listed as critically endangered by 1984. <em>(Pictured: A <a href="http://www.arkive.org/natterers-bat/myotis-nattereri/" target="_blank">Natterer's bat</em>, Myotis nattereri<em>)</a></em>

  • Macaws

    Macaws can be big or small, but they comprise the world's largest parrots. Unfortunately, three macaw subspecies are in danger of extinction. Loss of habitat, hunting and illegal trapping are causing these macaw varieties — the Glaucous, Little Blue and Idigo — to disappear. Now, it is estimated that only 3,000 hyacinth macaws (pictured above) can be found in the wild.

  • Also On The Huffington Post...

    Catch a glimpse of these endangered Siamese crocodiles.