The female turkey was spotted hanging out on Nakuspian Don Mabie’s deck in December. He said she showed no fear of humans. Photo: Don Mabie

The female turkey was spotted hanging out on Nakuspian Don Mabie’s deck in December. He said she showed no fear of humans. Photo: Don Mabie

Talkin’ turkey in Nakusp

A wild turkey has stolen hearts in the village

By John Boivin, Local Journalism Initiative, Valley Voice

Residents of Nakusp have, well, gone a bit bonkers over a turkey.

The female wild turkey has been hanging around town since the summer, and has built a local fan base of astonishing size.

For months people have reported on her whereabouts regularly on social media, posting notices of where she’s hanging out, debating her turkey motives, and asking drivers to be patient as she toddles across the street, taking her own sweet time.

“Why did she cross the road?” asked one Nakuspian in a recent post, setting up the perfect punchline from another: “To prove she isn’t chicken.”

Bad jokes aside, the young female – Miss Gobbler, Frances, Teena (no one can quite agree on a name yet) – is now appearing in other media.

“She is the town mascot and I wanted to incorporate her into a few paintings,” says Ricky Lamb, a local artist. He’s integrating the hen into a series of cartoony paintings featuring the bird, businesses and buildings in the community, and his own characters. “It seems that the patrons of town have taken her under their wings, and are very protective of her well-being.”

He’s not the only one to fall for the feathered female.

Another local artist, Don Mabie, also had a close encounter with the bird on his back deck in December, just shortly after watching it hang out with his neighbour.

“At one point I turned around from shovelling and standing some four to five feet from me was the wild turkey. She hung around for about 15 minutes drinking water off the deck and eating some of the greenery on one of the plants,” he recalls. “It seems to have no fear of humans and at times she was about two feet from me — within striking distance. I did fear for my life.”

He’s joking, of course, as turkeys are not known for their predatory behaviour.

So what’s the appeal? Mabie thinks he has an answer.

“I think people are bored, fed up with COVID-19 and the turkey is not doing anyone any harm and they like to see her hanging in there,” he says. “She is a diversion. When I see her, I do get a little excited, like seeing your pet when you get home. Perhaps that sounds a little weird – it is hard to explain.”

Lamb has a more straightforward theory as to why Nakuspians have taken the bird to heart.

“I think they have done that because the people of Nakusp are a very warm community… they really pull together when something happens to one of their own,” he says.

As for the bird, no one knows why she’s hanging around, though no doubt she’s got a good gig going, with half the town feeding her. In fact, rumour is a second turkey has appeared, muscling in on the action.

We’d ask, but we don’t talk turkey.

Animals

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Great Bear Snowshed on the Coquihalla Highway (Highway 5) in British Columbia. Truck driver Roy McCormack testified in BC Supreme Court in Chilliwack on Feb. 25, 2021 that his brakes started smoking in about this location, and soon after he lost all braking, which led to a multi-vehicle crash further down the road on Aug. 5, 2016. (GoogleMaps)
Truck driver charged in Coquihalla crash showed ‘wanton and reckless disregard for other people’s lives’: Crown

Despite already having brake issues, Roy McCormack tackled the steepest hill on the infamous highway

Approximate location of the vehicle incident. (Google Maps)
Vehicle incident blocking Coquihalla traffic in both directions

Both directions of traffic stopped due to vehicle incident

(HelloKelowna - Twitter)
West Kelowna billboard bearing anti-vaccine messaging deemed misleading

Ad Standards investigated the billboard, noting a lack of evidence to support the messaging

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Christina Camilleri: Making holistic health care accessible

Christina Camilleri founded and operates Healthy Essentials Clinic

Abbotsford’s Kris Collins turned to TikTok out of boredom when the provincial COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020. She now has over 23 million followers on the video app. Photo: Submitted
Internet famous: Abbotsford’s Kris Collins is a TikTok comedy queen

Collins has found surprise stardom alone with a phone

Chase RCMP held two men involved in drunken disturbances overnight in their detachment’s cells on Feb. 6. (File Photo)
Chase RCMP hold two men involved in drunken disturbances overnight

The two seperate incidents took place less than an hour apart.

Kamloops Fire Rescue battled a landfill fire which belched toxic smoke into the air on Feb. 27. (City of Kamloops Photo)
Fire at Kamloops landfill sends thick black smoke into the air

Firefighters made slow progress on the fire throughout the morning.

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Baldy Mountain Resort is temporarily closed following the death of a resort family member. Pictured above is a sunrise at the resort, Feb. 19, 2021. (Baldy Mountain Resort/Facebook)
Baldy Mountain ski hill closed following death of resort family member

Authorities currently investigating, resort set to reopen Sunday, Feb. 27

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Chase RCMP arrest intoxicated man running into highway traffic

The man was wanted on several warrents in Alberta; was held overnight but released

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Most Read