McFeely: Turkeys enough to drive Moorhead wild

There are solutions cheaper, easier than trafficking the birds to South Dakota
Forum New Service columnist Mike McFeely
Forum New Service columnist Mike McFeely

There are 57 issues in Moorhead more important than wild turkey gangs roaming neighborhoods and making life semi-miserable for mail carriers — a billy club strapped to the hip would solve that problem quickly — but now the city council and the media are involved so we have an issue.

On one side are people in north Moorhead who like to feed wild birds, thereby attracting cocky big-arse turkeys, and they kinda like living in Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom. On the other side are neighbors who don't want their eyes pecked out like that guy in "The Birds."

And then there those whose commutes are interrupted by turkeys crossing 11th Street North. These drivers impatiently honk their horns at the unflappable birds, who look at the honking drivers like they're nuts. Which they are. These are turkeys, people. They are not in a hurry to get to soccer practice.

Continuing to drive forward would be much more effective, but the results would be a public relations nightmare when confronted by the awkward questions from the 7-year-old.

"Daddy, why did you yell, 'I'll see you in hell!' at that bird before you ran it over?"

Faced with this turkey dilemma, it's likely Marlin Perkins would retire to the nearby Junkyard Brewing and leave Jim Fowler behind to clean up the mess.

The Moorhead Police Department, which fields the angry calls from irate neighbors, gets to play Jim Fowler in this case. There are probably worse gigs than dealing with a wandering rafter of turkeys, although this is probably an issue they didn't learn about at cop school. Throwing bad guys in jail is popular, but what if the bad guys are goofy looking but kinda lovable and half the populace likes having them around? Sort of like Jack Zaleski.

The city, trying to tiptoe gingerly, doesn't believe giving a few dozen turkeys the Remington treatment and donating the remains to a food shelf is politically palatable, even if the birds would be. Instead Moorhead appears headed toward turkey trafficking. Game wardens from South Dakota, where there's a turkey shortage exacerbated by a lack of FCS national championships, may trap offending gobblers and dump them in their state, for which the local fox and coyote population will be forever appreciative.

Meanwhile, back in Moorhead, the problem will be solved for about three years. That's how long it will take the remaining toms and hens to, ahem, naturally fill in the turkey gap. Nature, being nature, will spin a little Barry White, pour a glass of Merlot and turn down the lights. You think the toms are cocky now? You might notice them having a little extra strut and a sly smile on their beaks.

The population restored, Moorhead will have an issue again. Lacking some form of turkey birth control — has anybody tried making turkeys watch Fox News? — brings us back to the easiest and cheapest solution: Billy clubs for the mailmen. Seems more appropriate for them to yell, "I'll see you in hell!" than a soccer dad.