These are the infamous “Johnson Street Turkeys” from our old neighborhood in Minneapolis. I’ve written about them before and in fact an article about them appeared in the local newspaper a number of years ago. This flock would carry on every day by chasing the mail truck or following the garbage trucks in hopes of scavenging a tidbit or two. They would hang out by railroad tracks which happened to be just yards away from the butcher shop. One day as my husband was out and about, he spied one who looked like he was dead. The butcher was approaching as my husband drove by. We often wondered what happened next.
This obnoxious gang found it amusing to nibble on the cocoa bean mulch I’d placed in my garden. They’d stir things up and made a horrible mess out of it. They had no fear and like many an adolescent, they seemed to think they were invincible. Their iridescent feathers looked amazing in the sunlight, especially when they were fully displayed.
It was said that these were truly “city birds,” because they knew how to cross the main street on the traffic light. They’d patiently wait for the light to turn green and then run madly across. Not sure if that’s really true, since I never witnessed it, but I wouldn’t be surprised.
There was a myth that when our newly formed country was in its infancy, Benjamin Franklin suggested having the turkey as our national bird. Actually that is untrue. However, it wouldn’t surprise me either, considering all the turkeys that are currently residing in Washington.
I always have thoughts about these birds at this time of the year. Actually up until recently, turkeys weren’t as plentiful as they are now. It’s interesting how they stick together and show off when the lady turkeys show up. Now that we’ve moved away from the city, I’ve seen other flocks gathering and brazenly walking in gangs from place to place. Maybe they think they deserve special attention because of their apparent resurgence in numbers. Who knows, maybe they will eventually get the respect they deserve.