Monday, March 7, 2011

Animals vs. Vehicles Week, part one

Back at the end of January, a turkey attacked a mail truck in the town of Centreville, MA. We've seen this sort of thing more than once, of course. This time, though, there's video of an actual attack:


Fortunately, authorities did not take the situation lying down. In early February, they attempted to net the culprit. Using a mail truck as bait they successfully lured it out of the woods, but it evaded capture:

At first the turkey only had eyes for the mail truck. (Is it love, lust, hate? We may never know.) But then the turkey-truck tango was disrupted by the guy with the net.

Slowly, Zimmer edged around the truck, with the grace of Fred Astaire, except for the giant net. But the turkey awoke from his truck-reverie just in time and edged away.

Zimmer pursued the turkey around the truck and into a neighboring yard. Just when it seemed he might have the turkey cornered, the bird took to the air and flew across the street, where it appeared to be thumbing his wattle at would-be captors.

(You can watch video of the attempt here.)

At the same time, one prominent local family who you'd think had enough publicity on their own tried to ride the turkey's tail feathers into the news: Ethel Kennedy claimed that the bird was one that she'd bought at Thanksgiving that had escaped from her property.

After widespread coverage of this development, the farmer who'd sold turkeys to the Kennedys denied that this was possible, saying that the perpetrator was too old to be one they had bought.

Finally, in mid-February, wildlife officials upgraded their weaponry, and once again using a mail truck as bait, caught the turkey with a hand-held gun that shoots out a net.

The tom's imprisonment sounds like it's going to be pretty cushy, though. Amy Travers, education coordinator of the wildlife education facility where he's now incarcerated, seems a bit overexcited about the new arrival: "He's making our dreams come true," she told the Cape Cod Times, explaining that he'll be part of lessons about the role of turkeys in American history.

And he's not in solitary confinement: far from it, at the end of February, the facility provided him with a girlfriend.

But the bird will be kept a safe distance from visitors, and his enclosure has been chosen to avoid provoking his violent tendencies, says Travers:

"The mail truck usually doesn't drive back here — he stays all the way out front."

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