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Shorewood's urban turkey is the talk of the town

Shorewood has been visited in recent months by wild turkeys, which has alarmed some residents.

Shorewood has been visited in recent months by wild turkeys, which has alarmed some residents.

May 14, 2014

Shorewood — Turkeys have been the talk of the town for the last couple months in Shorewood.

While turkeys may not cause much commotion in a more rural community like Mequon, the presence of a turkey — usually near the high-traffic intersection of Capitol Drive and Oakland Avenue — has been cause for conversation and traffic troubles.

The first reaction of many Shorewoodians is to call the police, of course.

"I can't even count the number of calls we've received about the turkeys," said Deputy Police Chief Kevin Carini.

A Facebook page formed in 2012 about "The East Side Turkey" has garnered 1,700 followers, but that page has since been dominated by stories about the turkeys in Shorewood. People have used the page to share the turkeys whereabouts - whether it's at Shorewood High School, Wells Fargo or Atwater School. The turkey has made its way as far north as the Amstar gas station at Hampton Road and Wilson Drive.

There is no official name for the turkey, but that hasn't stopped people from coming up with their own names. Obviously Tom seems like a natural fit, but there are others. A classroom of first-graders at St. Robert's School has named him Bernard, for example.

Shorewood police wrote a tongue-in-cheek post on Facebook in mid-April that the turkey had tried to board a bus at Capitol Drive and Oakland Avenue. Carini said the turkey didn't actually try to board the bus, which will come as disappointing news to those who have spread the tale around the village in the last month.

Marie Johnson has a great view of the turkey saga from her second story office in the North Shore Bank building at the corner of Capitol and Oakland. After more than a month of monitoring the turkey's activity, she said she has seen the turkey cause chaos for cars and pedestrians.

"He just wants to be noticed. He could not be less scared of anything, even if a car is about to hit him," Johnson said. "All of us in the office will be screeching and gasping because we're afraid he's going to be hit by a car. We just can't believe that he could care so little."

An employee at the Shorewood Post Office said a stubborn, aggressive turkey prevented one of her co-workers from getting into his car one afternoon. He had to get in through the passenger side door and crawl through to the driver's side, the employee said.

Brian Cazel said he has been seeing a lot of the turkeys lately. He said he was walking back to his home on Murray Street one day, and one of the turkeys followed him all the way up to his front step.

"I was like 'No way, you're not coming into my building," he said.

The turkey seems to have wild mood swings, since some people have claimed to stand next to the turkey at a crosswalk while others have seen the turkey chase an innocent pedestrian across the high school lawn. Another possibility is that there are multiple turkeys, as a group of six have them were spotted together in May.

Only the turkey knows whether he will continue to roam the streets of Shorewood or find a more natural setting. Carini believes the turkey probably came from the brush area near Edgewood and Maryland or from the more natural areas along the river, like Hubbard Park, the Oak Leaf Trail and Estabrook Park. He thinks Shorewoodians may eventually get comfortable with the newest member to their community.

"When deer started popping up it was a big deal," he said. "Now if there is a deer that pops up it is a non-issue."

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