Monday, February 15, 2010

Game bird revolt crosses the pond

Perhaps it's no surprise that it all began where Thanksgiving started: For years, turkeys have been attacking people in Massachussetts.

But recently, as we saw in November, the same behavior has sprung up elsewhere: in Philadelphia, and although the tactics were different, I think we can also count the turkey in New Jersey who was trying to cause accidents at a freeway exit.

A more ominous development has now come out of England - you know, the old England. Since there are no wild turkeys there, it appears that other tasty game birds are being recruited to the cause - in this case, a pheasant. According to The Telegraph:

The vicious bird has launched several unprovoked attacks on villagers in recent weeks.

Men, women, children, prams, bikes, dogs and cars are said to have have fallen foul of the bird in Newsham, near Richmond, North Yorkshire.

There are tales of the plucky cock lying in wait for children to get off the school bus, before chasing them screaming to the village green.

One grandmother was left with a scar on her leg after being unable to beat the bird off with her handbag, and the postman is reportedly unwilling to deliver mail to the village for fear of attack. Another resident says that the bird tried to get into her house.

Despite treating the entire town like his property, the pheasant's main residence is the yard of one villager, who, like many of the people involved in these incidents, is entirely unclear whose side she is on. At first, she sounds like someone who's got her head screwed on straight:

"At first we thought he was a friendly bird because he would always like to come out and make his presence felt when anyone called round.

But he's actually quite an unpleasant bird, not very nice at all. He jumps up at the kids' school bags. It's worrying how he's gone on to attack people."

But then she goes on:

"We are happy enough for him to stay for the time being but if the attacks go on I'm sure he won't be around for long.

We haven't seen him for a couple of days which is a bit worrying."

People, when will you learn?

Photo of mad-eyed pheasant, hopefully via zoom lens from a great distance, from The Telegraph.

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