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Wild turkey rounded up

September 25, 1997

By TERRY TALBERT

Staff Writer

Four-year-old BJ Gossard can rest easy now. His winged nemesis, Thomasina the wily wild turkey, was caught napping Saturday night and shipped off to a new home on a farm in the mountains of Washington County.

BJ, who lives with his family in Cavetown, has been afraid of the bird ever since it flew its coop in a neighbor's backyard earlier this year, according to his mother. The boy claims the turkey chased him every time he tried to walk to his school bus stop.

BJ's mom, Nancy Gossard, said her son was "very happy" to hear the news of Thom's capture. "The teacher says he's doing much better in school now, and he's not afraid to go to the bus stop anymore," she said.

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The neighbors who had the bird said they took her in when she wandered onto their property a couple of years ago. A young turkey then, she apparently had been separated from her parents. The couple, who would not give their names, said they dubbed the bird Thomasina, or "Thom" for short.

The couple said they clipped one of the turkey's wings to keep her from escaping her topless pen. The wing apparently grew back, and Thom took off to roam the neighborhood.

Nancy Gossard said the turkey didn't seem to bother anyone but her son, who feared the tall bird would gobble him up.

As for Thom, she seemed content to scratch out an existence on the run. Earlier attempts by her keepers and the Gossards to capture her failed.

Earlier this month, when Nancy Gossard and her family tired of trying to catch the fleet-footed bird, Nancy Gossard called the Washington County Sheriff's Department, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Washington County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) and talked turkey.

No one, except BJ, figured Thom was much of a threat. After repeated calls from Gossard, the SPCA last week sent a letter to the couple who kept the bird and told them to they had to catch and pen the turkey.

The couple said they had tried to capture their bird, but to no avail. "I called the SPCA and told them they ought to try and catch her," the husband said.

The Gossards, who had seen Thom dash across yards, knew it wouldn't be easy to catch the turkey, but insisted it had to be done, for BJ's peace of mind.

The couple who kept Thom snatched up the turkey Saturday night during a rare lapse in the bird's defenses.

"The temperature dropped about 20 degrees that night and she was all huddled up near her pen, with her head tucked under her wing," the woman said. "We stalked her and my husband was able to grab her. He clipped her wings and removed her from the premises."

Thom was shipped to her a farm near woods, where she can run all she wants if she gets loose again, she said.

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