Wild turkey likes to play chicken

September 20, 1997


Staff Writer

Thomasina has flown the coop in Cavetown, and the wily bird has been leading friend and foe alike on a wild turkey chase ever since. She has at least one family up in arms. Well, almost.

"I'd like to shoot him, if I had a gun," said Mary Gossard, failing to completely suppress a chuckle.

Mary Gossard is the grandmother of 4-year-old William "BJ" Gossard, who is scared to death of Thom. BJ said he'd just like to see Thom, as she's called, "go away."

BJ claims the turkey runs toward him when he's waiting at the nearby school bus stop in the morning.

"He chases me when I try to go to the bus," the boy said.

"For some reason, he just seems to go after BJ," said the boy's mom, Nancy Gossard. "He doesn't seem to bother anyone else."


Even though the turkey hasn't hurt her son, Nancy Gossard said BJ is terrified of it, and sometimes is afraid to leave the house for the bus stop.

"One day, the turkey was on our front porch waiting for him," she said. "When he stretches his neck up, he's almost as tall as BJ."

Nancy Gossard and her family live a few doors up from Thom's home. The Gossards claimed they talked to the family that owns the bird last August and were told they were going to eat it for Thanksgiving.

"We figured that would take care of it," Nancy Gossard said.

The Gossards said they have nothing personal against the bird, but are concerned for BJ. They just want to see it confined.

The people who own the bird wouldn't give their names, but said they want to catch the turkey as badly as the Gossards.

The couple said they adopted Thom after she came wandering on their property from the wild a couple years ago as a young bird.

The man said they did plan on gobbling up Thom come Thanksgiving, but that became impossible when their 9-year-old son adopted the bird as his pet.

The husband said he clipped one of Thom's wings to keep her from flying the wire, topless coop that was her home, but the feathers apparently grew back in enough for her to take off.

The couple claim the Gossards never talked to them about Thom, and said the turkey only got loose about a month ago.

The family says their son has been trying to catch his pet and has been reduced to tears after hearing the Gossards talk about what they'd do to Thom if they ever catch her.

The couple said they have a friend who will take the turkey and put it on her farm, if only someone can catch her.

"She either runs ... or takes flight," the man said. "I've tried just about everything short of the obvious. I'd love to catch her."

The couple said they'd just gotten a letter from the SPCA regarding their "domestic turkey." The letter told the couple the turkey should not be allowed to run at large. They said the turkey could be impounded, and the couple could be fined, if Thom isn't confined.

"I called them and told them they ought to try to catch it," the man said. He shook his head. "I guess I'll try again tonight."

The Gossards said they can't understand why the SPCA can't come and capture the bird. "They have leash laws for chihuahuas," Nancy Gossard said. "And this turkey's a lot bigger than a chihuahua."

When the bird started bugging BJ, Nancy Gossard said she called the Sheriff's Department.

"They said they didn't think it would hurt anybody," she said. "They suggested we call the Department of Natural Resources. The natural resources guy said it's the SPCA's job to catch the bird. Finally, the SPCA told us they'd come and get it if we caught it. I told 'em they ought to come and try catching it."

As Nancy Gossard talked, she spotted Thomasina, who was lurking in nearby shrubbery. The turkey proceeded to strut her stuff, running across a nearby yard at near the speed of light and disappearing into another patch of greenery.

"See what I mean?" Nancy Gossard said. "He's fast. Real fast."

"That's no dumb bird," Mary Gossard said. "My husband was chasing him one day and he disappeared and when my husband ran past, he came back out and ran the other way. Nothing dumb about that bird."

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