Readers may recall my earlier close encounter with the wild turkeys that wander around the housing complex where I live. We could call that encounter a draw. But a couple of days ago, I had a rematch with one of them and this time the turkey was clearly the victor.
What happened was that I was going out somewhere and as I started driving on the road that exits the complex, I saw four turkeys ahead of me, straddling the road. I stopped to let them move on but turkeys are pretty casual about getting out of the way of cars and just hung around. After waiting some time, I drove around them but one of them took umbrage at this act of disrespect and chased after my car. I sped up and left it behind.
About half an hour later I returned and that turkey was still there in the middle of the road. Again I stopped but since it did not look like it was going anywhere, I again went around it and parked in my spot. But I found that it had followed my car and was now standing in the space between my car and the next so that I could not open my door. I waited, hoping that it would go away but it looked like it had no intention of doing so and would occasionally raise its head and look at me through the window in what seemed like a menacing manner, as if challenging me to come out and fight. I had no intention of taking up that challenge. I remembered my neighbor having to fend off a charging turkey with a golf club and Gerald the turkey that terrorized residents of a park in Oakland, CA. At one point it moved away a little but when I opened the door, it came back so I shut the door again.
After about ten minutes, I decided to drive away in the hope that the turkey would find something better to do in my absence or find another target for its obsessions. It again followed my car as I drove off. After about five minutes I came back but when I parked the car, lo and behold, the turkey had reappeared and came between the two cars again. There is something extremely embarrassing about being held hostage in one’s car by what is essentially an oversized chicken. I felt very much like I was in the scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail where a killer rabbit laid waste to King Arthur’s knights.
I waited for another ten minutes until it moved towards the back of the car and a little bit away. I then got out and walked quickly away, not looking back.
I had never given turkeys much thought before I moved to Monterey but now have became curious about these birds. I had been under the impression that they could not fly but have learned that that is a misconception that arises because they spend so much time on the ground. They can fly, and indeed need to since they roost at night on trees, but they can only fly for about a quarter of a mile. They can run at speeds of up to 25 mph and can fly at speeds of 55 mph, which is pretty impressive. Wild turkeys “also have a 270-degree field of vision and can see three times more clearly than 20/20.” Since they can weigh up to 25 lbs, they are clearly not to be trifled with,
What I could not find out is whether they have long memories and hold grudges or whether they let bygones be bygones, because I am pretty sure this saga is not over. The lifespan of a wild turkey is three to four years so my nemesis should be no more in a couple of years unless they pass on information about whom to harass to the next generation. I wouldn’t put it past them, the crazy bastards.