The last days of Jerkle the wild turkey of the Berkeley hills

I had a poignant moment at my campsite this morning. Involving those goddamn wild turkeys, believe it or not. My hated enemies.

Now, I feed all the wild critters in the Berkeley hills, except for the wild turkeys. Why? Because they’re too big (40 pounds) and there are too many of the bastards (dozens of them). And if I didn’t run them off, they’d eat every morsel of cat food I put out for my cats. And frankly I can’t afford to feed a flock of turkeys. Plus, they’re goons. They regularly knock over the water dish and my cats have to go all day with no water. So I always run them off when they show up at my campsite.

Two of the turkeys in particular have tormented me for years. They were always together, like a couple. So I named them Herkle and Jerkle. And they’d show up at my campsite every morning. And they’d circle around my campsite for hours. And the second my back was turned they’d make a mad dash for the cat food dish. I’d get up and chase after them in a rage, cursing and screaming bloody murder at them, and throwing rocks and branches at them. But I could almost never hit them. They were way too fast and zipped straight up the hill on their powerful legs like the Road Runner cartoon (Only one time I did manage to hit one of them right in the ass. That turkey jumped straight up 5 feet in the air, squawking and feathers flying before she fled up the hill. Very satisfying. For once. After the thousands of times when I missed) (I’d make a lousy baseball player).

Herkle disappeared a year ago. But Jerkle is still around (do turkeys experience loneliness??). Anyways, I was taking a nap this morning when Jerkle woke me up with her gobbling sound. They’d be more successful sneaking into my campsite as cat food thieves if they didn’t constantly make that gobble-gobble sound. But I guess it’s a compulsion with them. They can’t stop doing it.

I get up and start to chase after Jerkle in a rage, like usual. Jerkle took off running. But after he got about 20 yards away from me, he stopped running. He sat down on the ground. And sat there for quite some time. Looking like a chicken sitting on an egg. Which was weird. He’d never done that before.

After awhile I realized why. When he tried to stand up, his legs would buckle and he’d fall right back down to the ground. I had noticed for awhile that his legs were getting progressively worse. He staggered around with a bad limp that got noticeably worse over the last month, as he staggered around the woods. I realized Jerkle was on his last legs. Literally.

To my surprise, I felt a pang of sadness as I watched him sitting there. Part of my reaction was personal. I’ve noticed my own legs have been getting progressively weaker lately. And I often wonder how much longer I’ll be able to make the trek up the Berkeley hills to my campsite.

But it was more than that. As much of a nemesis and a pain in the ass that Jerkle could be, he’d still been a part of my life for many years. And I realized there was a bond there. I guess it’s like athletes who can be fierce rivals and hate each other’s guts all the years they’re competing against each other. But after they retire they realize there’s a strong bond there. A brotherhood.

I packed up my campsite, and left a plate of food for Jerkle. I guess I’ll have to start feeding him now.

But I still hate those goddamn wild turkeys!!!

The wild turkey menace strikes again

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The evil one.

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The face of a thievin’, catfood-stealin’, water dish-spillin’, varmint bastard.

I swear to God one of these days I am going to KILL that goddamn wild turkey. He’s been stalking me — and my cat food dish — for YEARS now. Every morning he’ll be CONSTANTLY circling around my campsite from every direction. And as soon as my back is turned he’ll make a mad dash for the cat food.

 

 

 

Well this morning I happened to feed my feral cats a tin of baked ham. Which was pretty salty. So naturally the cats were pretty thirsty. But wouldn’t you know it? As soon as my back was turned that goddamn turkey made a play for the cat food dish. And in the process the clumsy goon knocked over the water dish and spilled out all the water. So now I gotta go all the way down the road to this spigot to get more water for my goddamn cats.

I was so pissed I had a bit more speed than usual and I chased that goddamn turkey all the way down the hill screaming bloody murder all the way. And I picked up a big branch and hurled it at him and hit him right on the butt. He jumped up squawking and feathers flying and disappeared off into the woods.

It’s only the third time I’ve actually hit that turkey in all these years. I have terrible aim. It was very satisfying.

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Turkey wars

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Oh man this was great!

Usually the wild turkeys drive me nuts. Whenever my back is turned they’ll sneak into my campsite, eat all the cat food, knock over the water dish, and turkey-shit all over the place. All the while making that obnoxious sputtering, gargling “gobble gobble” sound. And, for a creature with a brain the size of a pea, they’re surprisingly crafty. They just materialize instantly out of nowhere.

I’ll chase after them in a rage, in my bare feet, cursing and throwing rocks and branches at them. But I can never hit them. They’re also surprisingly fast. They remind me of the Roadrunner cartoon character how they can motor up that hill with those two strong legs of theirs.

Its nothing personal but I can barely afford to feed my feral cats. I can’t afford to feed a bunch of goddamn 40-pound wild turkeys, too. So its war between me and the turkeys.

So anyways this morning I managed to sneak up on one of the turkeys. He was lurking on a branch up a tree looking just like the goddamn vulture that he is. And I guess he was dozing because he didn’t notice me sneaking towards him. By the time he spotted me and jumped off the branch and headed up the hill, he didn’t have the big head start for once. I flung this branch at him and hit him, direct hit right on the side — it made this very satisfied WHOMP! sound. The turkey jumped straight up in the air, squawking and feathers flying, and then fled up the hill, tail between its legs.

I’m sure it didn’t damage him. But I’m sure it stung for a moment. And maybe it”ll make him think twice about stealing my goddamn cat food. HARUMPH!!

 

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Those goddamn wild turkeys

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Big Scaredy and Little Scaredy.

 

Scaredy Cat’s been doing this thing lately every morning that drives me nuts. Around 5 AM she’ll climb on top of me, get right in my face, and “meow” incessantly until I wake up and feed her. . . I usually don’t get to bed until 1 AM so I’m usually in a pretty damaged state at that point. But eventually I’ll drag my ass out of my blankets and feed the damn cats their breakfast. It’s the only way I can get any peace. Then I’ll roll back over on my side and go back to sleep.

But¬†inevitably I’ll be woken up shortly after by the sound of those goddamn wild turkeys horning in on the action and scarfing down all the cat food. For a creature with a brain the size of a pea, the wild turkeys are surprisingly cunning. They hide behind the trees in the woods, and as soon as they see I’m asleep they pounce on the food. But they’re such goons they always wake me up, making that “gobble gobble” sound, and they peck at the food so spastically, they knock the food dishes all over the place.

I’ll wake up in a rage and chase after them in my bare feet, cursing and shouting at them and throwing rocks and branches at them. But I’m the worst aim of all time and I’ve only hit them twice in all these years (that was way satisfying, beaned them right on the ass with a rock, they jumped straight up 10 feet in the air, wings flapping and squawking indignantly — but all the other times I missed badly).

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The hated one.

 

And the turkeys are remarkably fast. They remind me of the Road Runner cartoon with their long, powerful legs. And their claws are perfect for navigating the hilly terrain. They blast straight up the hill like a rocket. I’m no match. And like I said, they’re smart. They’ll get just far enough up the hill to be out of range of my barrage of rocks and branches. Then they’ll stand there off in the distance, staring at me blankly, like: “You’re going to have to go back to sleep eventually, dude. And we’ll be waiting. Heh heh.”

And it’s incredibly frustrating. I keep thinking: “I’m the human. I’m the one at the top of the food chain. We slice these buzzards up into nice neat packages and put them on the shelves in all the supermarkets. But there they are, sitting there off in the distance laughing at me.”

Bastards.

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Those goddamn wild turkeys

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I hate those goddamn wild turkeys so much. What brainless buzzards they are. Those goony-birds are always trying to get at the cat food at my campsite. And when I run them off they always do the same witless routine:

“Don’t mind me. As you can see I’m walking farther and farther away from the cat food dish . . so there’s no need to pay any attention to harmless little ole’ me . . . as I circle around your campsite . . . and slowly move closer and closer to the cat food from the other side . . . and gobble gobble gobble . . .”

And then just as they approach the catfood dish I have to get up and scream.

“GET THE HELL OUT OF HERE YOU GODDAMN TURKEY!!”

And they go running down the hill. Only to repeat the routine all over again.

I swear. They have brains the size of peas.

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