The wild turkey population out in Staten Island just keeps on growing—bad for neighbors but great for folks looking for an illegal Thanksgiving bird with some serious New York City terroir. In this economy, why bother with an expensive overfed industrial turkey when you can get one that most likely has never set foot on mainland America?
According to one Staten Islander the Daily News spoke to, people have (unsurprisingly) already started poaching the big birds, especially around Turkey Day: "I've seen people grab them and put them in their cars always around Thanksgiving time. They are turkeys. It's Thanksgiving. They should look out or they will become someone's dinner."
Technically, doing so is illegal, as the wild turkeys are protected "with prescribed seasons and areas, none of which are within the city limits," but it doesn't sound like any of the fed up neighbors in Dongan Hills and South Beach, where the birds flock, will mind too much. "I’m scared. The turkeys keep coming and coming and coming. They never stop” Suloa Perasevic, of Ocean Breeze, said recently. And considering some of the birds are described as being "bigger than small children," they should make for a tasty dinner! Mmm, forbidden fowl.
Of course, once you catch one of the wild turkeys (the state estimates there at least 100 living near the Staten Island University Hospital) you'll have to kill it, pluck it and clean it. But there are websites and videos devoted to teaching you those skills!
Don't want to go about poaching and killing a wild turkey? No worries, they still might end up somebody's dinner anyway. One of the options for dealing the avian nuisance that state Department of Environmental Conservation is considering is "exterminating them with the questionable second act of harvesting their meat and giving it to a local food pantry."