My husband and I retired to the bucolic North Fork in order to enjoy the beautiful creeks and bays, vineyards, veggie stands, exciting restaurant scene, and yes, the wildlife.
As part of my daily routine I enjoy a walk down North Bayview Avenue toward Cedar Beach. I frequently see turtles and deer and enjoy listening to the birdsong. This summer while on one of my walks, I had an unsettling experience. Returning home from my afternoon outing, I heard a strange sound behind me. Looking over my shoulder I saw a large, wild, male turkey stalking me.
I casually said “shoo” and flicked my hand out to the side. Up rose the turkey, spreading his gigantic wings, flying into my face; I stumbled back, frantically trying to get away from him, and went down, hard, for the count. I stayed on the ground until he went wandering off. Limping home, I thought, maybe I am not so enamored of wildlife anymore.
Back at my house, surrounded by ice bags, praying the only damage is to my dignity, I wonder, “Who gets attacked by turkeys?”
Well, lots of people, it turns out.
Turkeys have come to roost in our community. Neighbors have been chased, in more than one case for over a mile; turkeys stalk them, flying at their backs, forcing them to find refuge in passing cars, neighbors’ homes and between the front and screen doors of deserted summer cottages.
I ask myself, do they still make muskets?
But seriously, this has become a problem, and that is the reason I am writing this letter. Last week there were 14 adult turkeys and their chicks marching through my backyard. The previous year I didn’t see any. What can we do to control their population and still enjoy the excitement of seeing a flock of turkeys in our woods? I realize that many will say that living on the North Fork means sharing our environment with all wildlife, and I agree.
But when you are chased and knocked to the ground by a large turkey, your perspective on this changes!
Hope you all had a good Thanksgiving and enjoyed eating your turkey … I sure will!
The author is a Southold resident.
Photo Caption: This turkey was photographed in Southold. (Courtesy photo)