Friday, October 23, 2009

Wild Turkeys Couldn’t Drag Me Away

We had another of what has become increasingly frequent visitation to our yard by the local turkey clan today. A year or so ago, wild turkey sightings in our residential neighborhood were not unheard of, but they were far from commonplace. Last spring, we were surprised and delighted to see a family of five turkeys (2 adults and 3 youngsters) parade through our yard. At the time, we joked about hoping they’d be fattened up in time for Thanksgiving.

Since then we’ve seen one or two at time shuffling through the yard every month or so. But today, three now very fully grown turkeys paraded their way out of the woods and across our lawn. They must be getting used to being around people, too. In the past, they would scamper off when you got within about 10 or 15 feet of them. Today, I got within about four feet of them – almost close enough to reach out and touch them. They didn’t flinch. They seemed neither frightened nor aggressive – a good thing since they are now about three feet high with large beaks.

(Later in the day, when relaying this encounter to my second-grader, she reported that she had seen the same three turkeys that morning when they had tried getting on her school bus at a stop down the street. Holly, the bus driver, had to honk her horn and close the bus door, according to my 7-year-old’s account.)

A month ago, the local newspaper’s Speak Out column (you know, the place where all the local crackpots can call in and anonymously leave comments that are then printed in the next week’s edition) featured one resident’s observations on all the wild turkeys now seen around the town. He had a great idea: in these trying economic times, wouldn’t these birds make for good inexpensive meals – a bit gamey maybe, but a free feast nonetheless? Only one problem: How would one go about getting them from the back yard to the dining room table? The caller was sane enough to acknowledge that gun use in residential neighborhoods was probably frowned upon, if not outright illegal; but then he had the revelation that one of these big birds could easily be taken down by simply throwing a sheet over it and then clubbing it with a baseball bat or golf club.

Yes, some of these (theoretical) neighbors of mine are scary.

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