By Rick Romano
I’M NOT SURE EXACTLY WHEN THE INVASION STARTED, but I know it has been going on for quite some time. It was a quirky happening at first. A group of three or so could be seen on a parkway, then in the middle of the street. And the instances grew.
By personal observation and shared experience, the turkey sightings grew as the pandemic spread. Not long ago, I saw a young man holding an Outpost bag and phone camera aimed directly at a trio of gobblers as he gladly walked backward through the store’s parking lot. Moments later, an older guy with a pickup truck almost ran over the same birds. He was not as amused, since the parade formed an obstruction from his intention to park. He honked the horn, then jumped out of the vehicle, loudly complaining about those “stupid turkeys.”
Another day, I saw a woman petrified to return to her car from nearby Metcalf’s because a group of turkeys – the same gang or related? – surrounded her. Another day in the same general location, a flock of four sauntered down the sidewalk westbound from Metcalf ’s, stopping occasionally to peek in the windows of adjacent stores.
The birds also penetrated residential areas like 85th Street north of Watertown Plank Road. There, a UPS driver wildly waved an empty cardboard box at the critters who had hounded his truck. Much to the delight of kids nearby, the turkeys responded with an unflustered stroll across the street, away from the marauding delivery guy.
Others offered similar sightings. A retiree who resides on West Warren Avenue said he regularly sees the birds in his backyard. A health care worker said she was told by her fellow staff members that a group of birds gathered in the parking structure of the Ascension facility on Mayfair Road near I-94.
And these turkeys seem to have no fear.
Driving at a normal pace southbound on 70th Street which curves a couple of times as it reaches State Street, I almost wiped out a few that were performing their characteristic middle-of-the-street stroll.
WHAT TO DO?
So, what can be done about these feathered friends? City officials said the birds have not been a major problem.
“We do receive occasional calls about the turkeys,” said Sgt. Abby Pavlik, Tosa’s police spokesperson. “Unless they are attacking someone, we don’t do a lot with the turkeys. Usually, we just try to shoo them away from areas where they may be a problem.”
One of those times, Sgt. Pavlik said, was the path of this summer’s America’s Dairyland Bicycle Race through city near the village. Several turkeys needed to be shuffled off the cyclist’s path before that race began. Eva Ennamorato, communications manager for the city, said the administration is sensitive to the population. “They are welcome wildlife,” she said.