Scat to the Rafters

My neighborhood is overloaded with wild turkey. The bird, that is, not the pathetic brown liquor that masquerades as bourbon. They nest behind my house. One could see this as a commentary on my gardening skills. There is rather a lot of overgrown brush for them to nest safely and comfortably in… though I prefer the terms “lush” and “verdant”.

In addition to ground nesting they roost in my trees, usually during raccoon and badger hours. Some people believe wild turkeys can’t fly and wonder how they get up there. Wild turkeys do fly. They fly like they’re drunk. Perhaps on real bourbon.

There are ten now, but there used to be twelve. Two chicken-sized babies died on the same day in my driveway and I wondered for a long time after if they fell or were pushed. That’s a lot of mouths to feed. I have a hard enough time with five and mine are old enough to forage for their own food.

They roost on a certain branch directly over my driveway and thus, my cars. One car is way more in the strike zone than the other.

For a long time we vied with daughter #1 for the prime parking spot and CC finally had to issue her a decree: YOU park on the turkey poop side.

Then #1 moved out and we had to reissue the decree to daughter #2.

Last week because I was lazy, I parked in the spot behind #2’s car hoping it was out of turkey poop range. It wasn’t. In the morning when I went out to run errands, I noticed the poop. It was hard not to. I figured I’d take the car to the car wash after I went grocery shopping. Then I sat down in the driver’s seat and decided, based on my view, going grocery shopping first was not an option.

Car Wash Guy: ¡Dios mío! 

Me: Turkeys.

Guy: Turkeys?

Me: Branch over my driveway.

Guy: Big Turkeys.

Me: Big branch.

Guy: I give extra pre-wash.

I got the $13 wash and tipped them $7.

The next day CC had to drive the other car and headed, first thing and for the same reason, to the same car wash.

Me: Did the car wash guy say anything?

CC: No. He just sighed, and turned on the hose.

I’m not entirely sure how #2 is oblivious to and unbothered by turkey poop, but she is. The very day after CC took that car to the car wash, it was covered again. He issued a new decree to #2: YOU hose this off, or the damn turkeys can cost YOU twenty bucks a day.

And then he began Operation Turkey Roost Removal.

I’m not going to post pictures of this, for fear of people thinking we actually conduct ourselves at work this way. It involved an extension ladder, an extension trimmer, and me being called out as a witness only. He declined my offer to foot the ladder because, he said, “I may need to jump out of the way and I don’t want to jump on you.”

Turned out he was right.

At work I told some of my city-dwelling co-workers that CC cut down the turkey roosting branch and they responded with “Awww! Poor turkeys!” and I was all, “No, you don’t understand!”

And nobody does, unless turkeys roost in a branch over some part of your property or you work in a car wash. So I’m educating you: Turkey poop isn’t like normal bird poop. It has density. It has substance. It’s somewhere between the size of a golf ball and a tennis ball. A turkey poops a lot. Ten turkeys, on a branch hanging over your car, poop ten times that amount. On your car.

20130902-193155.jpg

You’re welcome.

The conversation with my co-workers begat the question, “What do you call a group of turkeys? Are they a flock?” While there is some debate as to whether these names are wild or domestic specific, turkeys are either a flock or a rafter.

This was discovered via the interwebz, along with many other weird names for groups of animals that make me ridiculously happy:

I knew about a murder of crows, but had never heard of the unkindness of ravens. I wish like hell that I work that into a story without coming off like a complete douchebag.

An ostentation of peacocks, a kaleidoscope of butterflies, and a romp of otters are aptly named.

A troubling of goldfish, a pounce of cats, and a rookery of penguins are among my favorites.

But the hands-down winner? A business of ferrets.

What are your favorites?

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24 thoughts on “Scat to the Rafters

    1. I actually had turkey car poop pictures. Recently I deleted them saying, and I quote,”When the hell am I going to blog about turkey poop?” Answer: now. So far the branchectomy is working.

  1. Very funny! We live in the country so turkeys are all around and I have seen them attempt to fly, but I have never had the honor of having them near my car. Thanks for the heads up. And I had no idea about the “business of ferrets”. My son has a ferret…interesting fact of the day!

  2. I have an enormous dislike for pigeons for the same reason! Plus they smell bad. Don’t think I have ever seen a wild turkey to be honest, so thanks for the picture 😉

  3. With all your small arms experience I’m surprised a well placed shot from a pellet rifle wasn’t used to get these birds where they belong. In the oven!

  4. Whoa. Whoa. You posted this under ‘solely for my own amusement’ (HA), but I couldn’t be more tickled.

    I’d like to know what a group of chipmunks is called… Besides a CUTE-SPLOSION.

  5. I love those groupings. I used to have a book titled “A Murder of Crows.” We have to stop the car for turkey crossings all the time on our road, and I’ve seen them fly up into the trees, but I never knew they roosted there. I don’t blame you at all for evicting them.

  6. I always like a prickle of hedgehogs, a crash of hippos and a dazzle of zebras! But now I’m thinking: who comes up with these names? Can I just invent my own? In that case, how about a cuddle of meerkats, a pinch of crabs and a waddle of armadillos??

Comment. It gives me a reason not to clean my house.

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