WEST GREENWICH, R.I. (WPRI) — The turkey that’s now a regular customer at two West Greenwich businesses has become the talk of the town.
The bird has become a frequent flyer at the Dunkin’ on Route 3, where it perches between customers’ cars and the window in hopes that someone will drop something tasty. It also saunters around the parking lot of the nearby Shell gas station.
The turkey’s morning routine has taken social media by storm, with many residents sharing their encounters with the now “infamous” bird.
But the turkey’s presence has some residents concerned.
“This poor [turkey] is going to be dead soon,” one resident wrote in a Facebook post. “Turkeys aren’t meant to live off of donuts … Can everyone please stop feeding [it] this trash? [It] needs to go back into the woods and not be begging for munchkins.”
In response, the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) urged residents to never intentionally feed wild turkeys.
“Feeding wildlife is illegal in Rhode Island, not only because of the risk to turkeys, but it can also lead to conflicts between humans and wildlife, increase the risk of disease and lead to unsustainable populations of wildlife,” the DEM commented. “Feeding turkeys, either directly or indirectly, can cause turkeys to become tame and can lead to bold or aggressive behavior around humans.”
It appears that is already happening, according to another Facebook user.
“The turkey is blocking the drive-thru so [people] throw munchkins to get [it] out of the way,” the resident wrote. “[It’s] not lost, [it] knows where [its] bread is buttered. [It’s] evolving.”
The DEM also reminded residents that it is illegal to relocate wildlife.
“Simply removing a problem animal from a property without removing the resources or altering the human behavior which attracted it, will only make room for another animal to move in,” the DEM continued. “This turkey will likely go away on its own once its food source is removed.”
Despite DEM’s warnings, a number of residents said they enjoy seeing the turkey while grabbing their morning coffee or filling up their gas tanks.
Others began brainstorming names for the bird, and one resident quipped: “Humans aren’t meant to live on pizza and beer but most of us are doing fine.”
The DEM reminds Rhode Islanders every summer to report any turkey sightings as it starts to track the state’s population. The state tracks the turkey population annually from July 1 to Aug. 31.