By Sue Ellen Woodcock
Jake the Turkey welcomed in 2018 at one of his favorite intersections – Broadway, Park and Central. He stopped traffic, he posed for pictures, raised some blood pressure, but mainly he made people of all ages smile.
“Everybody stops and take his picture,” said one woman rushing through the cold.
“We get a lot of calls about Jake,” said Police Chief James Guido. “I might put in a call to the wildlife folks and see about relocating him. I’m just not sure yet. He is certainly well known around the city.”
Some smiled especially New Year’s Day because he was alive in the Arctic temperatures chilling us to the bone and making him bolder than ever. He watched the sun set as he pecked at the tire of a Jeep Wrangler. The driver, clearly not knowing what to do, sat there as horns blared and Jake let the young lady pass.
Some Jake fans were nervous when the last day they had seen Jake was after Christmas but he had safely hunkered down near his Cooledge Street stop. Earlier in the week he began his day hunkered down in the doorway of Volare’s before spending his afternoon strolling in and out of traffic.
Traffic is the biggest threat Jake has, as he’s well protected from the cold with layers of feathers, from downy to oily. Geese and ducks are similar.
Jake’s been strutting his stuff up and down Broadway since last spring. He’s checked out the side streets and even has his own Facebook page “Revere’s Own Jake the Turkey.”
Rumor has it that his main residence is in the Cooledge Street area, a spot he’s been urged to nest in.
Ward 4 Councillor Patrick Keefe said Jake the turkey is one of his best-known constituents and sometimes can be seen with the few members of the turkey family on Reservoir Avenue. Hmm…maybe he has a couple of families. Turkeys can travel a 50-mile radius, or like Jake stay with in a five-mile range where they were hatched.
Keefe said that Jake is a beloved wild animal and he has found a way to keep himself warm and fed in the arctic weather.
“Looking at his size I can tell he’s being well fed,” Keefe said. Jake appears to be about a 22-pound bird, with handsome tail feathers (to attract the ladies) and a gooble-gooble voice for the record books.
“He is not afraid of man nor machine,” Guido said.
Guido kind of likes it that Jake is at one of the busiest intersections.
“I wish I could teach him how to direct traffic,” Guido said. “Maybe we’ll offer him a ride along in the police cruiser.”
Jake’s intensive jaywalking has Keefe concerned and thinks that the traffic department should consider fining him for his bold behavior.
“If he seeks shelter in my yard or nests in some bushes in the neighborhood he is welcome,” Keefe said.
Fire Chief Chris Bright, a Jake himself by another right, said the animal control officer once tried to net the bird when firefighters corraled him inside the fire station. It didn’t go so well.
“They netted one of the firefighters instead.” Bright said.