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

A dose of COVID-19 vaccine is prepared at a vaccination clinic in Montreal’s Olympic Stadium on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
39 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health region

The total number of cases in the region since the pandemic began is now at 7,334

Arrow Lakes Caribou Society said the new caribou pen near the Nakusp Hotsprings is close to completion. (Submitted)
Maternity caribou pen near Nakusp inches closer to fruition

While Nakusp recently approved the project’s lease, caribou captures are delayed due to COVID-19

The Skinny Genes Foundation is raising awareness and funds for a rare genetic disorder that claimed both his father and uncle.
NHL players, local businesses help Kootenay man raise funds and awareness for rare genetic disease

Signed NHL jerseys and local business donations up for auction in Skinny Genes Foundation fundraiser

Remi Drolet
Rossland skier competes at World Nordic ski championship

Remi Drolet was selected to Team Canada and will race at the 2021 FIS World Nordic Ski Championships

Sylvain Fabi, Canada’s chief negotiator for the Columbia River Treaty, joined a number of government and Indigenous government stakeholders for a virtual town hall on Feb. 24, 2021, to update the state of the Columbia River Treaty negotiations. Trevor Crawley photo/Zoom screenshot
Indigenous input key to Columbia River Treaty negotiations

Ecosystem function included in negotiations along with flood management and power generation priorities

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

An investigation is underway after a man was shot and killed by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man shot and killed by RCMP near Tofino, police watchdog investigating

Investigation underway by Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

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

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’

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