Amherst residents talking turkey after “Tom” captured by police

AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) – People in Amherst are talking turkey.

The infamous Amherst Turkey, which created traffic snarls for years in one neighborhood, was captured by Amherst Police Wednesday. He’s been taken to a wildlife rehabilitation center and will eventually be released back into the wild elsewhere.

Fans of the quirky turkey, which was nicknamed Tom by many locals, are sad to see him go. They’ve just gobbled up the gossip about his whereabouts over the years.

“It’s just an unusual sight to see something like that and it’s become part of the community,” said one local resident, Gail Cobb, who said she would often see the turkey in the area.

“I think he’s a wonderful little turkey,” added another resident, Frances Gallo.

Local residents had gotten into the habit of seeing Tom near the intersection of Paradise Road and Klein Road. Now, they’ve quit cold turkey.

“I’m kind of sad in a way because every morning when I’d run, I’d see him out here and he was like folklore in the neighborhood,” said Amherst resident, Howard Lewkowitz.

Tom was a frequent jay-walker on Klein Road, which ruffled a lot of feathers. “He’d be in the middle of the road and the cars would be going around him if they stopped, and he was persistent,” Cobb said.

The turkey trotting in traffic ran him a-fowl of the law. Police were seriously worried he’d cause a crash.

At the very least, a lot of people worried Tom would get the stuffing knocked out of him by a car. “I was just hoping he wouldn’t get hit,” Cobb told News 4.

The bird remained on the lam for years, though.

Amherst Police had to get a permit from the DEC to capture Tom. They used a net to take him into custody unharmed Wednesday.

Now, the bird’s boosters are hoping he’ll have a happy life wherever he’s released. “I’m glad he survived thanksgiving and I’ll miss him,” Lewkowitz said. “I know he was kind of stopping the cars a little bit and slowing them down, but it was nice to see some wildlife in the area.”

Other wildlife is still easy to spot at that intersection, where our News 4 crew saw two young bucks butting heads Thursday morning (Oh deer!)

Still, even fans of the infamous fowl are breaking wishbones in the hopes he won’t find his way back to Paradise and Klein anytime soon. “They don’t fly well so hopefully not,” Cobb said.

The question remains, of course, why did the turkey cross the road there so many times over the years. Maybe he was trying to prove he wasn’t chicken.

 

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