Sunday, November 26, 2006

Turkey at the Battery

A wild turkey has been hanging around Battery Park in New York City. Now Battery Park is not the ideal place for a turkey to roam. Green space in the park is rather cramped, and there is not much place to hide. However, like the local pigeons, it can get by based on food offerings from humans. The bird has been named "Zelda" by the local birders.

Under usual circumstances, Ms. Hobel frowns on anyone feeding wild animals. Even the most well-intentioned offering can do a bird like Zelda harm. People have tossed peanuts, which are bad for a turkey’s digestion, or — horror of horrors — bread. “It’s like feeding somebody Styrofoam,” Ms. Hobel said.

But yesterday found two seasoned bird men in Battery Park, both well aware of Zelda’s gastronomical needs. One, Phil Lombardi, a park supervisor, supplies Zelda with chicken feed just about every day. The other, Peter May, said he was tossing seeds to other park birds one day when Zelda muscled in, driving her lesser competitors away. He has been feeding her since.

I saw this turkey last year and again yesterday.