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Wild Turkeys: Pigeons 2.0
October 24, 2007 5:07 PM   Subscribe

Wild turkeys up to 4 feet tall are strolling on the sidewalks of Boston, Cambridge, and Brookline, Mass. Animal control officer Pierre Verrier suggests shooing turkeys away with a purse. But some people need to be near the turkeys.
posted by lukemeister (72 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
I live in Cambridge. WHY HAVE I NOT SEEN THIS
posted by tepidmonkey at 5:11 PM on October 24, 2007


It's a terrorist attack.
posted by everichon at 5:13 PM on October 24, 2007


everichon, let's be real. I didn't see a single blinking light or anything on that turkey.
posted by PhatLobley at 5:16 PM on October 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


Not too long ago I was in a line of stopped traffic in Newton. I saw a very old lady get out of her car, take a broom from her trunk and swat away at this big mofo turkey in the road. She battled it like St George, and freed the road for the rest of us.
What a world.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 5:17 PM on October 24, 2007 [5 favorites]


July 20, 9:31 a.m., Rawson Road: Caller reports 18 turkeys in her backyard. "Something must be done," caller says. "It's just not right." Requests animal control officer.
posted by thehmsbeagle at 5:22 PM on October 24, 2007


It's a terrorist attack.

The Coast Guard has already been alerted.
posted by gubo at 5:25 PM on October 24, 2007


For your consideration:

1) Turkey invading Kurdish controlled northern Iraq.
2) Turkeys invade Boston.

Coincidence? I think not!
posted by PenDevil at 5:28 PM on October 24, 2007 [4 favorites]


Turkeys are fucking incredible.

AWESOME TURKEY FACTS: They can fly up to 50 mph. They eat snakes. Females can reproduce asexually. They are smart as shit: in the presence of a predator (i.e., a human, because who is going to fuck with a turkey?) they will manipulate lines of sight to avoid the interloper by, say, walking behind a tree, and then moving directly away from the predator for some distance. You won't even know he's gone until he's a mile away: "How long is that damn turkey going to stay behind that tree? OH SHIT, he's 800 miles away, planning my death with his be-nose-flapped buddies!"

Turkeys. Yeah!
posted by synaesthetichaze at 5:29 PM on October 24, 2007 [40 favorites]


More turkeys
posted by gimonca at 5:30 PM on October 24, 2007


i've been seeing them in connecticut for years now. oddly enough, they showed up at about the same time housing developers realized they could make a fortune selling 500 copies of the same goddamned house, and destroyed all the forests in my neighborhood to do just that. a bunch of dumb middle-class white people moved in after the animals moved out.

i also see deer, skunks, opossum, and coyotes a lot more frequently than i used to. thanks, imploding housing market, for destroying my hometown!
posted by quarter waters and a bag of chips at 5:32 PM on October 24, 2007


So why do turkeys have those dangly things on their noses? Is it just considered cute among young on-the-make fowl, or does it have some kind of purpose?
posted by thehmsbeagle at 5:37 PM on October 24, 2007


But "you still don't trust those turkeys you see now," Dionne says. "It doesn't take much for them to go berserk."

Fuckin' berserkies!
posted by The Straightener at 5:39 PM on October 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


That's nothing. I live in the DC area, and I'd be willing to bet that there are more turkeys in DC than in any other city in the country. I can point you to roughly 535 of them, for example, right near East Capitol and 1st Streets.
posted by cerebus19 at 5:44 PM on October 24, 2007


Hey, if they're good enough for Ben Franklin, they're good enough for me.
posted by nax at 5:46 PM on October 24, 2007


i work out on the needham/newton line, and we've had wild turkeys in our parking lots occasionally for a few years, at least.

turkey pictures
posted by rmd1023 at 5:47 PM on October 24, 2007


I don't know that the turkey nose-flap has a purpose, as such. It's just a force of nature. Don't question the flap.

However, it becomes engorged with blood when they are excited or agitated. I leave the reader to inform this item of interest with whatever possibilities their imaginations may conjure...
posted by synaesthetichaze at 5:49 PM on October 24, 2007


That turkey needs a walking stick photoshopped in, class it up a bit.
posted by user92371 at 5:51 PM on October 24, 2007


Arthur Carlson wanted for questioning.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 5:51 PM on October 24, 2007 [2 favorites]


I swear I thought turkeys could fly.
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 5:59 PM on October 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


Chuck Norris is fucking incredible.

AWESOME
CHUCK NORRIS FACTS: He can fly up to 50 mph. He eats snakes. He can reproduce asexually. He is smart as shit: in the presence of a predator (i.e., a human, because who is going to fuck with Chuck Norris?) he will manipulate lines of sight to avoid the interloper by, say, walking behind a tree, and then moving directly away from the predator for some distance. You won't even know he's gone until he's a mile away: "How long is that damn Chuck Norris going to stay behind that tree? OH SHIT, he's 800 miles away, planning my death with his be-nose-flapped buddies!"

Chuck Norris. Yeah!

I like the turkey one better.
posted by 517 at 6:07 PM on October 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


Ah, Ben Franklin. Imagine how different (humbler?) the USA would be with the turkey as its national bird.
posted by Reggie Digest at 6:20 PM on October 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


The wildlife has been weird in recent years here in suburban RI - wild turkeys, deer, coyote and fisher-cats. (I didn't even know there was such a thing as a fisher cat until I saw one in the backyard.)

When I was a kid, there were only racoons, opossum, skunks, and occasionally a fox or a pheasant.
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:20 PM on October 24, 2007


I hear they're good eatin'...
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 6:21 PM on October 24, 2007


I nearly shit myself last year when as I was running through Battery Park in NYC, and a giant fucking turkey crossed my path. Although a homeless guy yelled out "Don't worry! He ain't nothin' but a big pigeon!", trying to assuage my fear, there was still a lot of instinctual fright. Large birds are very dinosaur related and generally scare me. As I was coming back the other way there was a policeman trying to chase the turkey back into the park. He was headed for Water St. That got a good laugh out of me though. I'm glad I'm not the only urbanite dealing with wild turkeys of doom.
posted by zackola at 6:24 PM on October 24, 2007


You see, LED devices are the turkey's only predator in the wild. Boston is just reaping what it has sewn.
posted by stevis23 at 6:25 PM on October 24, 2007 [3 favorites]


Sure, these turkeys are pissed, but you would be too if you had a face like an old man's sac.
posted by The Straightener at 6:38 PM on October 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


Just in time for Thanksgiving.

mmmm dinner
posted by caddis at 6:48 PM on October 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


That is so awesome. I wonder though why dogs don't clean em up.
posted by wilful at 6:56 PM on October 24, 2007


Perhaps Mefites have a tendency to be frightened by animals.
posted by bad grammar at 6:56 PM on October 24, 2007


1) Turkey invading Kurdish controlled northern Iraq. 2) Turkeys invade Boston. Coincidence? I think not!

Folks, get with it! With the recent brouhaha over Armenian Genocide, the Turks and Turkey our Thanksgiving tables next month will be adorned with what should rightly be called "Freedom Birds!"

Only Democrats, left-wingnuts and The Clintons will be eating Turkey this year!
posted by ericb at 7:00 PM on October 24, 2007


I live in Cambridge. WHY HAVE I NOT SEEN THIS
posted by tepidmonkey at 8:11 PM on October 24 [+] [!]


I work in Cambridge, and there was on at the entrance of my building a few years ago! The day before Thanksgiving! Rock on, turkeys!
posted by WaterSprite at 7:02 PM on October 24, 2007


Piffle. In North Van we get bears and manage to survive (mind you, bears don't travel in flocks. That helps).

They've clearly sussed out that people = no predators. That's lead to an influx of prey animals in small to mid-size towns in various parts of Western Canada.

So, such as the deer bring the coyote to Vancouver and the elk bring the cougar to Banff, so shall the turkey bring the fox & coyote to Boston. And they'll eat your cats and small dogs. Possibly your very small children. As sayeth the Wild Turkey Federation:

"TC: What predators threaten turkeys and their nest sites?

T.H.: Raccoons cause the most damage to nests and prey on turkey poults. Other predators include opossums, skunks, foxes, bobcats, owls, hawks, crows, feral hogs and, to a much lesser extent, coyotes. "

The cycle of life in the form of feral hogs, on your doorstep!
posted by Salmonberry at 7:12 PM on October 24, 2007


Best article I've read all week.

I, for one, welcome our new four-foot-high wild turkey overlords. I would PAY to see a group of these gobblers chasing people through the streets of Boston.

Sometimes, it's just such a thrill to be alive, you know?
posted by perilous at 7:14 PM on October 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


Of course, whether the Pilgrims actually ate Turkey at the first Thanksgiving or not is up for debate.
posted by caddis at 7:21 PM on October 24, 2007


my ex-boyfriend got chased by a thwacket of pissed off geese.

i'm pretty wary of a mean goose.
posted by CitizenD at 7:25 PM on October 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


Fox and coyote have been in the Boston area for at least 15 years, Salmonberry. The turkeys are kinda new.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 7:26 PM on October 24, 2007


Heh. One of the feathery bastards came after my friend as she was heading home in Brookline. Then the boyfriend and I saw one on our way to the Kendall theater from T, just hanging out in front of Biogen Idec.

Truly surreal. They're big effing birds.
posted by weatherworn at 7:28 PM on October 24, 2007


I wonder though why dogs don't clean em up.

This is Cambridge, MA we're talking about here. One of the toniest towns in the USA. I don't think there are any packs of wild dogs running around.

I don't think a single dog would have much success against a flock of wild turkeys. I used to chase them in the woods when I was in college: they are wily, fast, and they can fly.
posted by geos at 7:30 PM on October 24, 2007


The Brookline Tab's inane blog is particularly fixated on these. I heard someone giving directions in Cambridge that included "go past the building where the turkey lives" (by the Kendall Square Marriott).
posted by nonane at 7:31 PM on October 24, 2007


Fox and coyote have been in the Boston area for at least 15 years

Thank the Lord that Bill O'Reilly left Boston after stints at B.U., Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and as a columnist for the Boston Herald. Just enough FOX for the times.
posted by ericb at 7:33 PM on October 24, 2007


I live in Brookline and am relieved to see that I'm not the only one who has noticed this. A few weeks ago was the first time I noticed a massive wild turkey calmly sitting in the middle of the sidewalk on Washington St. I had my headphones on and was close to tripping over him when I dodged quickly to the right and thought "Is this normal?" A few weeks later when responding to a 911 call at a nursing home my partner and I were hustling a heart attack victim out of her facility when we noticed that the entire area outside the entrance, about thirty feet in every direction, was dotted by grumpy, seemingly-overweight turkeys, probably fifteen to twenty in all. What the hell is going on?
posted by inoculatedcities at 7:33 PM on October 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


Fox and coyote have been in the Boston area for at least 15 years, Salmonberry. The turkeys are kinda new.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 7:26 PM on October 24


Prey following the predators? Ok then, you people live in some freaky weird special place where up is down and war is peace. No one will be able to help you with your turkey problems.
posted by Salmonberry at 7:36 PM on October 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


My daughter's boyfriend has turkeys on his property. They seem to be very sociable toward people, and toward other animals (one of the big males has befriended a baby goat), but they have the most menacing stares I have ever seen. Even when they're being "friendly," they look like they could go for your jugular at any moment.
posted by amyms at 7:39 PM on October 24, 2007


You know, after living here for over a year I just discovered Athan's in Washington Square. I've been there about five times in the past week and have not seen a turkey. Obviously this means I must go there more often for coffee and biscotti in order to sight some of these birds.
posted by backseatpilot at 7:47 PM on October 24, 2007


Females can reproduce asexually.

I know that there is evidence for this, but it goes against all my common sense about higher vertebrates. Its just incomprehensible to me how this could be done. Yet, the evidence is there. Amazing.
posted by Avenger at 7:49 PM on October 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


Coyotes are consummate survivors and opportunists. They're the only major furry predator in North America to drastically increase both range and numbers since the coming of the White Man. They're just about as far from being "endangered" as it's possible for a furry critter to be.

Originally they were confined to the west. But Europeans cleaned out all the wolves east of the Mississippi, leaving a delicious empty ecological niche, and then built bridges across the Mississippi river, which amounted to inviting the coyotes to move into that niche. They started moving east more than 50 years ago, and now they're even found in Maine. The secret to their success? They are equally comfortable hunting in packs or operating alone, and they'll eat anything.

I can believe that they've decided that wild turkeys are delicious. To a coyote they just look like slow, meaty roadrunners. Meep meep! (Not really, of course; the true roadrunner is about the size of a crow.)
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 7:53 PM on October 24, 2007


I think the little old lady might help us, Salmonberry.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 7:55 PM on October 24, 2007


There really is something about that extra skin, eh? What is that all about?
posted by LiveLurker at 8:27 PM on October 24, 2007


About three years ago there was this Peahen that lived in my back yard for nearly a year. Have no idea where it came from, or why it was there.

All I know was that it couldn't be chased off and has to be the loudest creature this side of a Howler Monkey or that creature from the AD&D Monster Manual I can't think of right now--especially outside your window at dawn. Seriously--did it travel all the way from India to torment me?

I hope someone ate it. I swore if I ever caught it, I would.
posted by sourwookie at 8:30 PM on October 24, 2007


How pathetic is a person that is afraid of a wild turkey. sheesh
Got them all over our yard every morning and every evening, they know enough to leave us alone.
Wild turkeys are a wonder to see, all bronze with red ,white and blue heads on the toms. They're intimidated easily even by a housecat.
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 8:37 PM on October 24, 2007


How pathetic is a person that is afraid of a wild turkey. sheesh
No kidding. We had some vicious ones around our place when I was a kid. Just give 'em a good kick in the chest and they'll back off.
posted by hjo3 at 8:55 PM on October 24, 2007


Once a turkey followed me around the Bronx Zoo. We had an excellent time.
posted by unknowncommand at 9:03 PM on October 24, 2007 [2 favorites]


Man, I thought the topic was creepy enough already, but I almost lost my shit when I clicked over to the first link and a pink gurgling cod materialized onto the screen and began to rotate.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:14 PM on October 24, 2007


The Hmong will eat them all soon.

Hmong yeah!
posted by uncanny hengeman at 9:16 PM on October 24, 2007


Once a spoonbill followed me around the Perth Zoo. We had an excellent time.
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 9:21 PM on October 24, 2007


Perth Zoo, heh?

I used to live less that 2km from Perth Zoo. Could hear the howler monkeys when the traffic wasn't too bad. Howler Monkeys are a facking laff.

No, no. Not the Left Wing Howler Monkeys. :-)
posted by uncanny hengeman at 9:25 PM on October 24, 2007


We've not seen them in our 'hood. Perhaps the turkeys know that if they cross the Jamaicaway, we'll fuck them up JP-style (that is, with a nice mole sauce and a beer).
posted by scblackman at 9:29 PM on October 24, 2007


When I lived near Bekesbourne zoo (Howletts), the Howler monkeys escaped and one of them was in my back yard. Thus, the circle is complete.
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 9:43 PM on October 24, 2007


TURKEY REVENGE SOUP
posted by Camofrog at 9:47 PM on October 24, 2007


How pathetic is a person that is afraid of a wild turkey

Well, when you have one for first period, second period, third period, (fourth period is cool), fifth period, sixth period and super wild turkey for seventh period, well, ouch.
posted by caddis at 11:08 PM on October 24, 2007


Seriously, why aren't people eating them? I can't imagine large game birds on the streets of suburbia where I live. I see the odd pheasant in parks and the city green belt, but only very rarely, and you can bet that if I could I'd be roasting one on a spit right now.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 11:53 PM on October 24, 2007


I want a wild turkey! And a pony.
posted by DarlingBri at 11:59 PM on October 24, 2007


A wild turkey lives near the Kendall Square Marriott? Why have I never seen it?! I feel gypped!
posted by ubersturm at 12:45 AM on October 25, 2007


We saw a big flock of those things walking down the street in Reading on Thanksgiving a few years ago.

I was back up there a couple months ago and saw a small female turkey while out for a run.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 3:50 AM on October 25, 2007


Was it wearing sneakers?
posted by rob511 at 3:56 AM on October 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


We saw a big flock of those things walking down the street in Reading on Thanksgiving a few years ago.

Now that's chutzpah...
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 4:05 AM on October 25, 2007


the extra skin means that they're gentiles...
posted by sexyrobot at 4:26 AM on October 25, 2007


Seriously, why aren't people eating them?

Because that would mean shooting them, with a gun, in a city where every third person is apparently deathly afraid of blinkie things and Play-doh.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 7:18 AM on October 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


Every time I go to Massachusetts, I see wild turkeys. Have for several years now. They certainly are all over the place.
posted by agregoli at 7:23 AM on October 25, 2007


How pathetic is a person that is afraid of a wild turkey

OK. A short tale.

At the tender age of six, I lived in rural CT, and turkeys were regulars in our back yard. I liked turkeys, because, hey, you can draw them by tracing your hand, and that wobble is pretty badass. So, when turkey breeding season was through, and families of turkeys became regular sights, I decided it was high time to stop dreaming and start doing--I was going to catch me one of the little ones, and raise it in secret, until I had my own full-sized, grotesquely-colored, feathered pet.

My means of capture? A large Tupperware bowl, with which to pounce on a young turkey and ferry it back to the house. The next time I saw a line of turkey chicks walking across the back yard, it was time to make my move. I stealthily crept along the side of the house, and then started toward the congregation, who by now had made their way into the tall grass of the neighbor's field. I sprinted toward where last I had seen them, following the sounds made by a dozen very small turkeys. Upon catching sight of one of them, I moved in full pursuit, deftly maneuvering the bowl into position to trap the bird. It zigged right, I zigged right. It zagged left, and I followed. I could see that it was about to run out of space to escape, as there was a stream bed ahead that would block its escape.

It was at this moment, with my full focus on the ground 2 feet in front of me, that the parent turkey made its defensive stand. With an unearthly screech that I can still hear in the back of my mind, it reared up to full size in front of me, catching me totally by surprise by moving in from the periphery of my vision. Stretched to full wingspan, this turkey was 2/3 the size I was, making the most cacophonous sound I had ever heard, and it was pissed. You can believe whatever caricatures you want, but that thing knew exactly what I was up to, and had a thing or two to say about it. I screamed in terror, dropped the bowl, and lit out toward safety, with the turkey in full pursuit. Those damned things are huge, and they move like the goddamned wind; it was a pretty close footrace to the back door.

I refused to leave the house for three days. Nigh onto two decades later, as a full-sized person who realizes objectively that he could probably kick the ass of any turkey he meets, the idea that those hellspawn are wandering the streets of Boston is just about the most traumatizing thought I've come across since I moved here.

It's not like I'm innately troubled by creatures of the wild. Big jungle cats or grizzlies? Bring 'em on. But you'd best believe I'm crossing the road if one of those beaked horrors is out on Washington Street.
posted by Mayor West at 8:02 AM on October 25, 2007 [9 favorites]


I am so excited to see this phenomenon brought to the attention of Metafilter! I walk 2 miles to work and back, between Brighton and Brookline Village, and see turkeys regularly. They are amazing creatures live and up-close.

Although I am not about to go messing with one, I confess that I have a hard time being afraid of them. I will have to remember the lesson of Kettly Jean-Felix and her turkey-pecked backside (first link), and exercise more caution.
posted by hilatron at 9:31 AM on October 25, 2007


Ok, so who's in for a turkey-hunt (bows and arrows? popguns? cameras?) meetup in Kendall Square or on Washington Street?
posted by nonane at 9:49 AM on October 25, 2007


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