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Sometimes I sit back and reflect about finding the "right" story for my blog, sometimes looking for divine inspiration. I never worry because so much materials exists in the world that writing about those stories is actually easy. It's the niche stories that have broader appeal that are a bit more difficult to "find" and "inspire." Sometimes, however, they just fall in your lap.
For months on end: Deer invading Mt. Lebanon and ruining shrubbery. This week: Turkeys invading our neighborhoods. This morning, I awoke to read the Pittsburgh Post Gazette written by John Hayes in the "Extra" section of the Friday paper (April 17, 2015), only to see an interesting story about turkeys invading our local neighborhoods. Living in Moon Township and previously in Clinton, Findlay Township, I have seen my share of wild turkeys - in the front yard, the backyard, the fields, neighbor's yards. In fact, I would say that I have seen as many wild turkeys in our neighborhoods as I have seen deer.
(Did I just mention "deer." Oh dear).
I read the story with anticipation, waiting, just waiting, for the angry quote from some Mt. Lebanon resident arguing that the turkey's must be eliminated. "Hey, they scratch my beautifully manicured lawn. They poop on my backyard. They eat my grass. They don't fly well, and sometimes they awkwardly fly in front of my car, causing me to swerve and cause an accident. They must be destroyed. They even stand on my roof and taunt me. At least deer don't stand on my roof. If they scratch and poop on my roof, it's going to cost me thousands of dollars to replace it. Damn turkeys!"
I was waiting to read the story about Mt. Lebanon residents paying thousands of dollars to "hired guns" to trap the despicable turkeys and systematically shooting them in the middle of the night with "silent" guns as not to cause permanent damage to the youngsters - guns blasting in a quiet suburban community in the middle of the night.
However, after reading the story this morning, I found out that suburbanites actually like turkeys in their yards. How about that?
Note: my wife is an excellent/expert amateur gardener. Each she has beautiful shrubs, bushes, plants, flowers. In fact, we sold our last house primarily because of her skills. Her work is beautiful and the "talk of the town." And, she works a full time professional job, also. We have as many deer in Moon Township as do other communities. She is smart. She just plants shrubs, bushes, flowers, etc. that "deer don't eat." Simple. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure this one out. The deer, who visit our house nightly, never touch her work. We are proud of her.
However, as a friend just pointed out sarcastically, why would ANYONE allow a lowly animal to dictate what they plant on their property.
Hayes reports that Cecily Franklin, an O'Hara Township resident, was quoted in the story "We love them. They're on our property all of the time and have never caused a problem." Sandra Beckley of Bethel Park (a community that borders Mt. Lebanon) told the reporter that she and her family tolerates some lawn scratching and doesn't think much about turkeys roaming their yard. George Sears of Wilkins Township stated "I've seen 30 or more at one time. My cats don't like them much, but I don't mind them."
What was missing from the story was this: Where are all the wild animal haters in Mt. Lebanon? Why aren't they angry about turkeys? They surely have wild turkeys in their community. We all have deer and turkeys in our suburban communities. The wonder of it all. That's part of our lives.
MORE BAD NEWS FOR MT. LEBANON RESIDENTS. JUST HEARD THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE A STORY ABOUT THE MT. LEBANON POLICE STOPPING TRAFFIC TO ALLOW THE TURKEYS TO CROSS THE STREET. UH, OH. IF THE TURKEYS HAVE THE POLICE FORCE ON THEIR SIDE, I DON'T KNOW HOW THE RESIDENTS ARE GOING TO PULL OF THIS ANTI-TURKEY ACTION, OF COURSE, IF this EVER OCCURS.
Imagine. A Mt. Lebanon resident waking up in the morning or driving home from work only to find 30 deer congregating in his back yard?
I can imagine the conversation taking place in the deer community. "Hey, Bambi, why all the love for the stupid turkeys? They are quite ugly, the wild ones, at least. We are beautiful creatures. Why do we get shot, and they get to live?" (Editor's note: I made that up. I am sure deer don't really talk about turkeys in such a disrespectful way. But if they did, I am quite sure that "hunted wild animals" have some sort of compassion for each other).
Compare this, also, to the Mt. Lebanon residents who actually had a Facebook account titled "Rid Mt. Lebanon of Deer."
And this from Aaron Upperlee, writer for the Tribune Review Live (March 11, 2015):
Stop several people to ask them about the deer cull, and they will likely acknowledge the affluent South Hills community has a deer problem but differ on how to solve it.
The plan to lure deer into five corrals and have sharpshooters with small-caliber rifles equipped with suppressors kill them seems barbaric to some. Others say there just aren't any good options.
“I know it's not nice, but they aren't giving us a lot of options,” said John Dryden, 75, who lives along Gilkeson Road on the edge of Mt. Lebanon.
Sharpshooters in Mt. Lebanon killed three deer early Wednesday, the first of the controversial cull, according to the Pennsylvania Game Commission.
Poor Mr. Dryden. At 75, he shouldn't have to be worried about options to killing deer. He should be enjoying his retirement thinking about more pleasant things.
Turkeys beware! Move to Bethel Park, to Upper St. Clair, to Scott. Hey, we even have a place for you (and your deer friends in Moon if you want to travel that far). But the Mt. Lebanon residents are probably meeting in church basements and fire halls planning your demise. And this isn't just for Thanksgiving Dinner.
But let's give the Mt. Lebanon residents some time. It's not Thanksgiving yet. They may indeed change their minds. Mmmmmmm.