Friday, April 22, 2005
Wild turkey attacks, chases resident
An enraged wild turkey, a big male, "at least a 30 pound bird," fully ruffed up and tail spread wide, attacked Skelton Road resident Lorraine Stone last Sunday morning. Stone had gone for a walk and saw the turkey going after a car and hoped he would have gone by the time she returned. This did not happen.
The bird came after her, getting between her and the door to her house. "I was surprised how big their claws were; I didn't know they kick at you," she said. Since some kind of defense was required, and needed immediately, she seized a long stick to defend herself, poking and hitting, trying to get around the bird so she could get to her door which she desperately hoped was unlocked. "The bird kept coming," Stone said in a telephone interview on Tuesday. "He got up on the first step, kicking and pecking at the door," which proved to be unlocked.
The bird continued to kick the door after she was inside. Stone called out to her 16-year-old son to come and help, saying a big turkey had attacked her and was now attacking the house. "No way," he said. Then he looked out the window, saw the bird on the doorstep, changed his mind and joined the battle, trying to poke the bird off the step with his lacrosse stick. This did not deter the turkey, who continued kicking at the door. Stone says, "He was not going away."
Police called as attack continues
Stone called the police for assistance. When Officer Stephen Mack drove the cruiser into the driveway, the turkey began pecking at it too. When Mack got out of the cruiser, the turkey went after him. A neighbor got into the battle, yelling at Mack from her house, "Don't you shoot that bird!"
Efforts to shoo it away continued to be ineffective and the bird "was still charging around." Mack shot the bird, but the bullet must have gone through soft tissue because Stone's sons found the casing later. However, the gun did the trick and the attack bird stalked off into the woods, with Mack chasing it. Its mate, who had been demurely watching the battle from the sidelines, went with him.
Flock is Skelton Road resident
The turkey flock has been resident in the Skelton area for some time. Stone says the neighbors feed them and the birds have been following the children on the way to wait for the school bus. They have attacked cars traversing their territory, but this is the first time she has known them to go after a human.
"Do not feed the turkeys!"
Audubon coordinator of wildlife information lines Linda Cocca does not find the Skelton Road turkey's behavior unusual. She says turkeys are territorial and there is a pecking order. He probably perceived the cars and people as invaders of his territory. This would be particularly true since residents had been feeding him. And her final emphatic comment, "Do not feed the turkeys!"
© 2005 The