Chris and Charlene Phillips nearly had turkey for Easter dinner, but it showed up a week late and not on a platter.
A friend was driving by their house shortly after noon last Sunday when he saw one of their front windows was shattered. The Phillipses were away from home at the time, and their cell phones started ringing and didn‘t stop. Charlene tried to reassure the kids that it was probably just a ball someone had thrown, but she thought immediately of a burglar.
When they got to the house, they realized with some relief that it couldn’t have been a human that broke in.
“The window was kind of broken from the top, so a person couldn’t have gotten through without seriously hurting themselves,” Charlene said. “So then it was just a matter of figuring out what it was.”
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They discovered the culprit was still inside – asleep on the floor beside a decorative wrought-iron bird. The wild turkey was quiet enough until she noticed them, when she went berserk and took off.
She flew into the glass on the back patio door (without breaking it) and fell behind the sofa, where Chris was able to catch her. They took some pictures and then she started to struggle, hitting Chris in the head with a wing, so he let her go.
After the first rush of relief that it wasn’t a burglar, the Phillipses realized they were looking at a big cleanup job.
Charlene was doing her taxes on the dining room table, and she’ll have to sift through the papers and filing boxes for glass shards. The carpet will have to be replaced because the cleaning company can’t guarantee they’ll get all the shards out.
“There is glass from one end of this room to the other; there’s glass shards in the drywall, turkey feathers everywhere,” Charlene said. “It’s quite a mess for a bird.”
Altogether, cleaning up the mess will cost almost $3,000.
At first their insurance company declined to pay for the damage, telling them that birds weren’t covered in their policy. Chris had to convince them that this wasn’t the same as having a sparrow fly into the window.
“It was a lot funnier when we first realized that it was a turkey instead of a burglar,” Charlene said. “Monday morning when you start talking about the insurance and the cost, it’s not as funny any more.”
The story has their friends and neighbours talking turkey: they’re calling and leaving message on the answering machine saying, “Gobble, gobble, gobble.”
Charlene said people are mostly surprised they let the bird go.
“Everyone’s like, ‘at least you got dinner out of it.’ And, no, we didn’t.”