We have wild turkeys here in Morris — we see them every once in a while, along the road or at the horticulture garden. They tend to be timid and run away if you approach.
It’s a different story in New Jersey.
Roaming the highways of West Orange is a mighty bird named Turkules, who boldly charges across the road, pursues pedestrians, and has so far proven unstoppable.
Turkules made his official debut early in October at Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation on Pleasant Valley Way. Like a bad “why did the chicken cross the road joke,” residents saw him in the street when they were driving in the area. His antics have been immortalized in the New York Times and one resident said he was featured in The Times of India.
People posted pictures of him and captivated residents reported his every movement. One day he was spotted with a dart in his chest from an official capture attempt, and another time he was hit by a car. No one posted any Turkules sightings for a few days, and his fan club worried about his wellbeing. On Tuesday, Oct. 31 he reappeared, much to the delight of many township residents. Although, not everyone is convinced that the turkey spotted on Halloween was Turkules.
He has been creating traffic problems, and many on social media are worried that he will be hit again. Turkules has also charged at a couple of people, so don’t get too close to him.
Officials have posted official warnings.
Please be advised the Township of West Orange is aware of the wild turkey present on Pleasant Valley Way, in the area of Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation and Daughters of Israel. West Orange Animal Control has been working with New Jersey Fish & Wildlife for the past two weeks to capture and relocate this turkey. It’s crucial that the public refrains from approaching the wild turkey for safety reasons. Wild animals can become stressed or agitated when approached, which can pose risks to both the animal and humans. Feeding the turkey or attempting to remove tranquilizing darts is strongly discouraged. Interfering with the wildlife professionals’ efforts can complicate the situation and potentially harm the turkey. New Jersey Fish and Wildlife authorities are actively working to capture and relocate the turkey. They have been trying to tranquilize the bird, but have encountered some challenges in their efforts so far.
You go, Turkules (he has many names now: Cluck Norris, Gobbles McFeathers, Wingston, or simply Tom). Lead the rebellion. Raise up your armies and storm the citadels of Butterball, Jennie-O, and Perdue. Know this: you have allies among us vegetarian humans.
I, for one, welcome our new turkey overlords. They can’t be worse than the turkeys running the country right now.