Saralee usual writes essays for us about her relationships, adventures, and coping with life as someone who is living with paralysis. When we saw this turkey photo pop up on her Facebook page, we had to ask. Here's the story. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Fowl Play in our Backyard
By: Saralee Perel
When I think about ordering take-out food to be delivered to our home around Thanksgiving, a live turkey standing at our front door does not usually come to mind.
One morning I saw a gigantic wild turkey on our door step. I called out to Bob who was sleeping, “Bob? There’s a turkey at the door.”
When he came to see, there were 3 of them on the step. Upon hearing them pecking on the outside glass door, funnyman Bob said, “They’re knocking. Let them in.” Later I learned they were pecking because they saw their reflections and figured they had to get those “other” turkeys out of their territory. Since the team in the reflection wouldn’t leave, the real ones wouldn’t either.
I e-mailed a wildlife expert. He wrote back, “They attack dogs and cats and even people.” I am 5 feet tall. Turkeys can be 4 and a half feet tall. It is not pleasant looking eye to eye at a turkey. I told the wildlife guy that I was frightened for our dog, a border collie. He replied, “Don’t worry about the border collie. The turkeys should worry about that dog!”
This leads me to another ridiculous animal situation. Becky is the only stupid border collie in the universe. She’s terrified of the turkeys. When she sees them, she screams like a human. You couldn’t tell the difference between her scream and Janet Leigh’s in the shower scene from “Psycho.”
While Becky’s screaming, she runs, backwards, until she smashes into a tree. She doesn’t learn from this. She continues running backwards, keeping her eye on the turkeys until she slams into another tree. Meanwhile, the turkeys just stand there looking at her as if she’s the birdbrain.
By the time she crashes into enough trees so that she’s near the back door, she does a quick spin and makes a mad dash inside the house, where, still screaming, she scrambles to hide under Bob’s desk.
So now I’ve got this new phobia. When I leave the house, I race to our truck, constantly scanning the yard for lurking turkeys. They roost 20 to 40 feet up in the trees. Not only am I scared to death of them chasing me; I’m expecting a turkey to drop on my head. I can imagine calling Bob at work from my cell phone. “Bob? There’s a turkey on my head.”
I researched how to humanely get them the heck away from here. On the National Wildlife Federation web site, suggestions (I am serious) include: “Whitewash all buildings so they don’t roost,” as well as setting off “propane cannons.”
One other wildlife expert gave me this ever-so-practical idea, “There are machines that make gunshot sounds every once in a while. But when they realize nothing is really there shooting at them, they’ll probably just go sit on the machine.”
Great. I’m surprised someone hasn’t suggested I get the Stealth Bomber to roar around our backyard in circles, dropping dynamite at 10 minute intervals. Now I know why Bush didn’t find any weapons of mass destruction. Everybody in the “Turkeys are Fair Game” club is hoarding them.
When I googled “Wild turkeys,” I found a local association’s newsletter. YAY! Finally, I’d read about how to get them out of here. What did I see instead? Stories and pictures of wild turkeys looking at their reflections in the glass on the front doors of people living within a mile from us.
The association’s suggestion? Enjoy the turkeys. I may take them up on that advice, but not in the spirit of how it was meant.
Award-winning columnist/novelist, Saralee Perel, welcomes e-mails at email@example.com or via her website: www.saraleeperel.com