Friday, March 25, 2005

As God Is My Witness, I Thought Turkeys Stayed Outside

Near the building where I work, it is not unusual to see a flock of wild turkeys roaming around the neighborhood. Pittsburgh became a haven for the feathered monsters a few years ago after a controlled hunt in turkey-overrun rural areas of Pennsylvania drove the birds to seek refuge in heavily populated urban areas. (Source: Conversation with one of the hunters about two years ago. He took full credit, and looks forward to a turkey shoot within city limits.) Anyone who visits Allegheny Cemetery in the Lawrenceville section of the city can attest to this.

These urban turkeys have been nice, pleasant, unobtrusive creatures who never bother anybody -- until now. Trib columnist Eric Heyl tackles the matter of a turkey home invasion in an Allegheny County suburb:

Now, no one should feel safe in Carnegie. Not after the large wild turkey crashed boldly through the double-paned casement window in Suzan Barefoot's kitchen, filling the sink with broken glass and stray feathers. When she came upon the creature staring at her confrontationally in front of the stove, Barefoot realized the awful truth. She was the victim of a home invasion.
I know it's not nice to make fun of someone's name, but you have to wonder if Heyl knew what he was doing when he put together the words "Barefoot's kitchen". It sounds like a redneck greasy spoon diner run by a mother of many children. A place, in fact, where live turkeys might be kept in the kitchen in order to ensure that your turkey 'n' fixins plate contains the freshest meat available. Instead, this is a place where one freaked-out lady has a feathery guest with very poor manners:
"It was terrifying," a still-shaken Barefoot recalled Thursday. "He was very big, he was very ugly, and he defecated everywhere."
She probably would not insult her houseguest in this manner had he not provoked her by using the kitchen for a latrine. To her credit, she closed herself up in another part of the house while the turkey ran rampant. The monster was lethal:
Jerry Feaser of the Pennsylvania Game & Fish Commission said she handled the situation perfectly. "Turkeys have spurs on their legs that could conceivably cause injury to people who try to corner them," he said.
Window-crashing turkeys of death.

The civil authorities arrived, coaxed the bird out the front door, and let it escape back into suburbia. One incident like this is all that it takes for citizens to demand that something must be done. Controlled hunt, anyone?

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