By Carol Tannenhauser
Tutu, a turkey of undetermined gender (too young to tell), was saved from a slaughterhouse last week by a student at the School of Visual Arts, who wanted to do an art project about rescuing a turkey at Thanksgiving time.
“The student went to a poultry market and bought Tutu and hid him/her at the school,” said Rita McMahon, director of the nonprofit Wild Bird Fund (WBF), a storefront clinic on Columbus Avenue and 87th Street, where injured New York City wildlife is brought to be healed. WSR visited on Tuesday. The room was filled with cages holding recuperating birds, turtles, and squirrels. (They’ll take any wild animals but raccoons and skunks.) Tutu was walking around freely, checking out the place and people, while a Canadian goose stood with its beak buried in its feathers.
“The school administrators found Tutu and were not too happy,” Rita continued. “They came the next day with the turkey and the student to hand it over. The student had wanted to keep him/her, but you can’t keep a turkey in New York City; it’s against the health code. We assured her we’d find a good home for Tutu, who is a lucky bird. He/she would surely have been a Thanksgiving dinner.”
Instead, in about 10 days, when fully recovered from the ailments and injuries sustained in the poultry market “pen,” Tutu will be picked up and delivered to a 100-acre estate, owned by an Upper East Side florist (Zeze), with three bird caretakers, two ponds and a barn, where he/she will live out his/her days in safety and peace.
Below, Tutu peruses the brochure of his/her benefactor.
And here Tutu and WBF staff member Jerry Basford bond.