With Thanksgiving just nine days away, I give you the story of tom turkey vs. Ocean Breeze, N.Y. It seems this community on Staten Island is besieged by a flock of turkeys that won’t leave the residents alone. Considering that most city slickers are scared of anything wild, the residents of Ocean Breeze are naturally terrified of the turkeys. They want the birds gone, now.
I have a simple solution: hunt them.
Nov. 10 in the New York Daily News:
One slice of Staten Island isn’t giving thanks for its turkey this holiday season because the wild fowl are rampaging across the neighborhood.
The menacing flock is ruffling feathers in Ocean Breeze by tying up traffic, covering yards with excrement - even trapping one terrified woman in her car.
“It was straight out of ‘Cujo,’” said dental assistant Gina Guaragno, 23. “I’m sitting in my car Facebooking on my phone when turkeys jumped on my windshield.
“I screamed like I was being murdered. They just kept looking at me like it was their car. I felt trapped. I was so scared.” …
Ocean Breeze’s turkey terror began at least a decade ago, when a local resident liberated her nine pet birds at nearby South Beach Psychiatric Center.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation said there are roughly 100 turkeys in the neighborhood, though locals think it might be in the thousands.
Packs of turkeys strut slowly along the tree-lined residential streets near Cromwell Ave. and Mason St. in a daily display that’s hardly mouth-watering.
“It’s disgusting. It’s horrible,” said Sarah Pellei, 82, who first noticed the invasion a decade ago.
“People think turkeys are a big joke. But when you have thousands of these filthy animals surrounding my house and pooping all over everything, it becomes a living nightmare.”
Standing 2 to 4 feet high, the brown-feathered fiends meander between houses and linger for hours outside some homes.
“The turkeys are terrible, terrible,” said Sarina Sanfelice, 82, who keeps a garden hose by her front door to drive them away.
“They come in droves by the hundreds and eat the figs off my fig tree and poop all over everything. I complain and complain, but no one will help us.”
If they opened the area to turkey hunting, I’d say hunters would be lining up to help the good people of Ocean Breeze. That would be a win-win for everyone involved. A hunt would reduce the population, restore the birds’ natural fear of humans, create a great new opportunity for hunters, and put some meat on the table either for the hunters’ families or needy people in the community.
I am wrong in thinking this is a no-brainer? To its credit, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has said harvesting the birds is an option.
If that’s the case, I sincerely hope they allow members of the public to do the hunting. But then again the residents are probably afraid of hunters, too, and would want the DEC to bring in “experts” to do the job.
At the taxpayers’ expense.
Given the chance, experienced hunters can solve the community’s turkey troubles free of charge—and possibly teach residents that hunting and wildlife are nothing to fear.