Jan and I were real city girls when we moved here. An occasional raccoon in the trash was our total experience. Here we had skunks in the front yard, fox (who moved into the front yard in broad daylight with their cubs the year the 17 year cicadas came popping out of the ground), hawks, coyotes, and our neighbor reporting Sasquatch in his woods across the street from us. They have nothing on turkeys.
Wednesday, November 30, 2022
We would see the flock of turkeys down by the fire station, five miles north, then in the park five miles east, then somewhere else, until one day they were in our front yard. We were invaded by wild turkeys. We became turkey experts and learned they roost at dusk in the highest available spot. We live on top of the hill. They went even higher. Our roof. The turkey patriarch settled down each night on the studio chimney.
They got up at dawn, about the time the dogs went out and started their morning walk up the street. Turkeys stand up, stretch, spread their wings and lift off. Some lazy turkeys used the slope of the roof to gain lift momentum, sliding down as they lifted up. We lost both front awnings to turkeys who misjudged the angle of the slope, went over the edge and through an awning. Now we have metal awnings on the front, replacing the destroyed canvass awnings.
The turkeys went air born not to leave, but merely to get from the roof to the ground. Once on the ground they walked up the street with Jan and the dogs. Each morning she had a squawking, crowd behind her, beside her, in front of her, wings outspread, half running to keep up. At the head of the street they would spread out in the field and not be heard from again until dusk.
Linda saw the turkeys at our house and said she needed a new turkey feather to put in her Shaker Woods hat. “Not to worry,” said Tom, the hunter. He was on medical leave at the time, foot in a cast from chasing a foolish dog into the neighbor’s horse corral and breaking something. She and Tom were on the front porch. A turkey walked up the ramp, Tom leaned over and grabbed a handful of turkey tail feathers. The turkey kept on walking, Tom kept on holding on. The turkey dragged him across the porch, Linda holding him back for dear life as the turkey proceeded down the steps. Tom balanced precariously on the edge. Linda holding him from going over the edge in his cast, yelling “Let Go Tom,” and the turkey kept on walking. Tom let go. Turkey lost no feathers.
Jan searched the internet for a solution and read that turkeys look for a place to roost at dusk. Ah Ha. If turkeys are not here at dusk, turkeys will not roost on our roof. She rounded up half a dozen brooms and passed them out when the turkeys walked down the street as evening fell. Even a broom to Tom, his leg in a cast. The orders to her troops—no turkeys in the yard. Turn them back. Line forms at the street. Don’t let them on the property. Slow, steady, wait for the whites of their eyes. Now men, present brooms, drive them back. Up the street. Up the street. Up the street. Don’t stop until it’s dusk! In less than a week she had them roosting in our neighbor’s trees, where they could spy on Sasquatch.
Eventually the herd of turkeys moved on, we replaced the awnings and thought no more. Until we had the roof replaced. “Lady, do you know how much shit is on your roof?”
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I wrote this originally around 2010. Remember Pearl, who lived in Minneapolis and rode the bus to work. The line is a link to her blog. A scroll through her comments is fun; how many people do you recall?