Gone Wild Series: Turkeys Gone Wild

This is the first post in a series of three seemingly unrelated incidents that happened to coincide with one another in a twist I can only describe as serendipity or perhaps, even fate.

If you have ever been to the University of Illinois or know someone who has, you have likely heard about the squirrel epidemic. That's right, everyone has at least one squirrel story here because the furry punks are everywhere! A squirrel once chucked a nut at a co-worker and one of them stood its ground as I approached, perched on its hind legs, front paws clutched into tiny fists, as if to say, "try me, betch!" In fact, on Facebook, there is a group called the Squirrel Counterterrorist Task Force and about 20 other groups related to the furry rodent. They were C-U's number one menace...until now.

Enter the wild turkeys. It's literally all the town can talk about. Wild turkeys have found their way back to Illinois since being gone from this area basically since the early 1900s. Taking the bus to the shuttle lot from work one evening, the driver slowed for what I assumed were pedestrians. Upon further inspection, it was two gobblers! On campus? Weird, but I didn't think much of it at the time. Until a friend called and told me these birds are the talk of the town. People are calling up morning radio shows to share their turkey stories. And these things are not docile...they attack something fierce! Stories of people being chased, fending them off with swinging bookbags, being rescued by passing motorists, being held up in their homes or blocked from enter buildings (now THAT'S cock-blocking in its original form). It's like some feathered posse moved into town and is roughing up the locals. The News Gazette ran a feature about the capture of these guys. Apparently the police, animal control, and Department of Natural Resources can't quite decide who's responsibility it is to detain these wandering thugs. Um, let me just say that we are in the Midwest, the NRA is big around here, and I think there's an army of hunters and gun-toting yokels who may get all vigilante for the promise of an early Thanksgiving unless the authorities can "git 'er done!"

Meantime, all we can do is sit back and enjoy the comedy. I was talking to Brandon and Iker about it at dinner today, and on my way home, I saw all these cars slowing down and sure enough, the turkeys were crossing the street! There was a guy with a video camera...yeah, seriously. I busted out laughing and called Brandon to make him jealous.

5 comments:

bkdubya said...

My biggest suprise is that the Turkeys have moved from southeast Urbana into Champaign. You know, Ben Franklin thought the Turkey was a noble and intelligent bird worthy of being our National Symbol. I figured the Group of Gobblers knew they were safe from becoming TV dinners the the "nuclear free zone" that is Urbana. Now that they've been sighted across Wright Street, either it's just a matter of time before Turkey Salad is the Tuesday Special at Old Time Meat and Deli - or perhaps they've increased to such numbers that Urbana can't contain them all. Maybe it's like Star Trek IV - and the Turkeys are back from the Edge of Extinction and ready to communicate with their counterparts from beyond the blue....

Anonymous said...

I am one of the many who was menaced by the squirrels (or Satan's minions as I referred to them), and I can only imagine the hysteria of the wild turkey invasion. There's a part of me that wishes I was there to experience it, but the more realistic side of me is happy to hear from afar.

Besides, one of these days I know I'm going to see a moose, and that will be the best wildlife sighting of them all.

Gregor said...

Send the turkeys up here. We love to shoot things that move. And we usually have good enough aim not to hit random old guys in the face (that incident up north last year was a fluke).

Jonathan said...

Man I have totally had the song Turkey Lurkey Time from Promises, Promises in my head since I read this post. Damn you Burt Bacharach!

Army said...

I think it's clear this story resonates with us Midwesterners (or those still Midwestern at heart). Guns, squirrels, and Burt...oh my!