August 20, 2007

Exert your turkey dominance contest!

I’m not at my best in the morning. So when I saw this on my way to work today, I was pretty sure my sleep-addled brain was just not processing something correctly.

Because, really, how could there possibly be a gigantic waist-high wild turkey on Beacon street, the four-lane main drag running through the by-no-means-suburban Washington Square area of Brookline, miles from any kind of woodlands?

But it actually was a real live wild turkey, just pecking in the dirt by a fire hydrant! (Note to self: never relax bloggerly vigilance for an instant by leaving camera at home because your cell phone camera will be entirely inadequate for surprise wildlife encounters).

When I passed a Brookline cop and mentioned the ENORMOUS LIVE TURKEY hanging out in the middle of a busy intersection, he rolled his eyes and said “Yeah, they’re everywhere. Wait a few months and you’ll have Thanksgiving dinner."

Even better, when I told my friends about it, Megan (of the dainty feet) sent this helpful NPR article which says Brookline is occasionally overrun by aggressive wild turkeys!

In particular, NPR says that “birds who get accustomed to suburban life apparently start to see people as other turkeys, often displaying aggressive social behavior in attempts to establish their "turkey dominance."

My friend Quinn’s response to the whole thing: “I am going to use the phrase "turkey dominance" as much as possible, and for the rest of my life.”

I heartily agree. I think the world would be much simpler if all arguments could be settled by jumping up and down on someone and flapping one's wings. In fact, I'm planning to exert my turkey dominance on TB's ass the next time we spend thirty minutes arguing about which movie to rent, by jumping on his back, flapping my arms and scratching him with a special talon I plan to grow on my leg. Just as an example.

So in honor of my blogiversary (Wednesday!) and the awesome discovery of aggressive wild turkey behavior, I'm having a contest. Leave a comment describing how you would exert your turkey dominance, or about your own strange wildlife encounter, or any funny, random thing that occurs to you, really, and you'll be eligible to win one of two skeins of Lucy's merino-tencel hand-dyed sock yarn. Just let me know which you'd prefer.

This one (we'll call it Turkey)...


Or this one (We'll call it Dominance)...


See here for a good shot of this yarn. Or those of you on Ravelry, check this out. It's hard to photograph because of the tencel, but trust me, it's good stuff.

Winner to be picked at random on Sunday, August 26, or based on whichever comment I find funniest at the time. Or both. A dominant turkey scoffs at clear rules.

Happy Monday, everyone!


Quinn said...

Romance novel version: “She blushed, and shivered, and then bravely turned towards him. She tried to steady herself, but it was of no avail. Her first glimpse of his turkey dominance had left her breathless and tingling with anticipation."

Knitting in Pink said...

I would use my turkey dominance over whoever lets their dog poop all over the front of our house and in our yard! : )Maybe a real turkey would scare the dog(s) away, I should come and pick one up from Beacon Hill!

Rebecca said...

OMG. that is the weirdest/funniest thing. so my wildlife story is not all that exciting. but, sunday we went to a park, sort of like a wildlife preserve where they have wolves, deer, otters, raptors, etc. in cages that you can see. we saw tons of sweet deer. and then a bit later we saw a deer running loose. stupidly i was like "that one got loose," but no. it was just a wild deer that happened to venture into the preserve area. some days i'm slower than others. it was a hot hot day.

Kelley said...

My Top Five Moments When Turkey Dominance Would Solve Everything:

5. To solve any "Waddaya wanna do", "I dunno waddaYOU wanna do" conversation. Loser chooses.

4. When someone piles into the already over-crowded elevator, only to get off at the next floor.

3. Any time an armpit, crotch or beer belly is shoved in your knitting space on the T.

2. When a person blatantly cuts you off because they were too busy talking on their cell phone to acknowledge other cars.

***Note: It is best to wait for them to get out of the car before displaying your turkey dominance

*** Note Part Deux: I am a gigantic hypocrite and likely the worst offender in this case, so please take pity on the clueless cell phone wielding redhead....

And finally

1. Two words: Yarn Sale

Macoco said...

I've had many odd experiences with wildlife but the one that makes me giggle the most happened when I was a little kid. On the farm we were plagued with raccoons and anytime they would come around my father would get incredibly pissed. So one night he went out and chased the offending raccoon up a tree. He called me out of the house and assigned me the task of training the flashlight on the raccoon so he could try and shoot it out of the tree. As a kid, I realized how ridiculous this was. Thankfully, he's a pretty poor shot as I think it would have fallen on my head.

I don't have much turkey dominance - but if I did, I would exert it by pooping regardless of whether somebody was in the next stall or not. And because I'm 12 years old, that is making me laugh. ;)

Jenny said...

I have a story that was instantly brought to mind when I read this about the turkey dominance, but mine could possibly be read as offensive. It involves a high school choral festival and a very tall, horse-faced teenage boy. I can tell you tomorrow in person, if you wish. But I might need to act it out, which will definitely draw stares and pretty much the cessation of all conversation in the cafe.

In the meantime, I never knew how wonderful it would be to be called an evil temptress with vixenish wiles! Oh, how it is, though!

I need to read you more regularly, though it is fun to save it all up and read like 8 posts at once! Oh, and my roommate saw the same turkey on Beacon, only on Sunday. Crizazy!

Quinn said...

I watch America's Next Top Model religiously, and the women on that show exert their turkey dominance ALL THE TIME. Especially Tyra.

With this in mind, I propose a Reality-TV "Turkey Dominance" Drinking Game. There are three rules to this game.

Rule 1: Drink whenever you see turkey dominance displayed.

Rule 2: Drink whenever someone SHOULD exert turkey dominance.

Rule 3: You must drink Wild Turkey while in play.

suzie said...

Reminds me of the white swans in the campus pond at UMas-Amherst. Not sure if you ever ventured over to my alma mater, but if you had you know the swans. Swans mate for life and I guess are extremly teritorial especially when they have babies (chicks? swanlets, not sure). There is nothing like the sight of a slightly stoned or drunk white-hat frat boy being chased down the path by a large, menacing, flapping swan ready to nip him in the ass. Those birds were nasty and mean (particularly after one of them had died...things only got worse)

I put my crazy UMass swam up against your Brookline wild turkey any day.

Risa said...

Wow! Wild turkeys :) I'd like to see that in my neighborhood. Not so much for the turkeys themselves. It would just be fun to watch people's reactions to the turkeys.
Anyway, my most memorable run-in with wildlife was when I was about 4. My parents had a sheep ranch, so I had no neighborhood and therefore no neighborhood kids to play with. So, I was out alone in the yard, at the top of my slide. I'm ready to slide down and I see a rope coiled up at the bottom.
And then it moved.
And I yell, "Dad, can you get the rattlesnake off my slide?"
Classic rural California growing up story. Makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.

rfx1982 said...

I whole-heartidly agree with Quinn. This sounds like an awesome drinking game, and would probably make ANTM watchable.

Quirkles said...

I guess I have to put my 2 cents in.
The funniest wildlife story I have (though it is only funny in retrospect), was when I was eight, on a trip with my family in Arizona, picking blueberries by the side of a state road, when I stepped in the nest of a horde of biting angry army ants. In a second they covered my body and screaming commenced. If it wasn't bad enough, my mom took me to just next to the road, stripped off all of my clothes, and began hitting me all over. I can't imagine what damage we must have done to the locals that drove by. It's an event I'll never forget.

lyssa said...

I actually had a wild turkey encounter on my old street in Jamaica plain! they're taking over boston!!! ahhh!! :)

but of course, i did not know about turkey dominance at the time, so i wasn't able to exert it on said turkey. apparently? it used it's turkey dominance on me to leave it alone. :)

Sherry said...

In West Roxbury three summers ago there was a turkey family living in our neighborhood. There was the Mom & five babies. As the months went on you couldn't tell the babes from the mother, but it was interesting they all stayed together. They seemed docile ... no
dominance issues.

Kim said...

Wow. In a head to head match, I'd hope I'd win against a turkey. They have more feathers but I'm bigger. My attitude towards animals has totally changed since DH convinced me to get a cat. I went from being afraid it would scratch me to "okay, bud, I'm gonna pick you up and take you wherever I want"! Cat dominance is all about staying out of reach of the biting end and controlling its limbs. I imagine turkey wrangling is the same, only with feathers.

MrsJ said...

I saw a three-foot long snapping turtle going through the drive-thru at the bank the other day. Well, I was going through the drive-thru, and the turtle was just standing in the parking lot glaring at cars. I rolled down the window to ask him what the hell he was doing there, and he started moving slo-o-owly (but with attitude) towards my car. I flapped at him, took his picture with my phone, and got out of there before he could bite a hole in my tire with his prehistoric pointy lips.

Kristy said...

I have this friend, Amy, who started a big argument once when a bunch of us were hanging out. She said that our friend Ethan (tall, athletic) would totally lose in a fight with an angry goose. She was completely convinced, despite any evidence to the contrary. When Nick walked in (short, bad hip), we said that he *would* probably lose to an angry goose. Amy immediately took up his defense, saying that he would win because of his quick reflexes. So it apparently it's like rock, paper, scissors: Ethan beats Nick, Nick beats goose, goose beats Ethan :)

Jscothammerquist said...

I have seen two so far, once on a side street in Roslindale. The turkey was just hanging around waiting for a bus, but he was about six blocks away from the nearest stop. A couple of weeks later he must have found the bus stop or better yet found employment because there was a wild turkey standing on a car in the MBTA employee parking lot at Forest Hills Station. I don't know if it was the same turkey, I mean they are everywhere. But whether or not he was a T employee or a regular turkey is subject to debate.

Stariel said...

Once upon a time I was at Glacier National Park in Montana and a big bull moose was hanging out in a car pull off area. A bunch of people had parked and gotten out to take pictures of the moose but then one really stupid dude decided he needed to use the outhouse (the moose was blocking the path) and walked up and pushed the moose.

Um, yeah... So, has anyone else ever heard a huge moose growl? It's scary. I don't know why the guy didn't just go pee in a bush!

So in that case the guy was exerting his turkey dominance on a moose, but that is generally not effective. ;)

Dorothy said...

I was once on a school bus heading down the highway led by a Mama moose and her three day old calf for about 1/4 mile before they turned off into the bush.

I wish I had heard about turkey dominance when I was still working at the local sawmill. There are a few turkeys working there than need a good back jumping, arm flapping, talon scratching, pecking to get their stupids out.

ikkinlala said...

Living where I do, I have no shortage of odd wildlife stories. This morning we saw a white-tail doe running around the pasture, followed by three half-grown fawns. The doe ran back and forth for a while, then gracefully hopped over the fence and sprinted across the hay field. The fawns didn't make it over the fence, so they milled around in the pasture for a while before they settled down. There may be some anthropomorphism involved here, but we suspect that she might have been running around to confuse them so that they wouldn't follow her.

LadyLungDoc said...

I have a series of blog posts about my wildlife encounters:

Deb said...

I have only one turkey involves one lone wild turkey that wandered into a little nook that formed outside my high school english class. It stared in the windows mournfully for several days in early November. I always sort of imagined it was desparately trying to learn how to spell so it could write a letter to its congressman and make a plea for a moratorium on Turkey Day.

Turkey Dominance? That Turkey didn't really display it, but perhaps those Turkeys have their revenge. I mean, think of it. Everybody loads up on the big bird then goes into a deep sleep. (turkey induced coma? transformative period??) When they wake up they're consumed with Turkey Dominance! The next day they go out and assert their dominance on the streets, in the stores and anywhere there are bright lights and shiney baubles. Turkey Dominance. It's the Turkey's final revenge.