Turkey Saved by an Art Student is Recuperating on the UWS; Headed for a 100-Acre Estate (Not to be Eaten!)

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.

Rita McMahon.

“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.

ABSURDITY, NEWS | 8 comments | permalink
    1. Paul says:


    2. Lis Anderson says:

      Sweet story

    3. Jerry says:

      Wild Bird Fund is the best! So many cool things to see there. If you are in Brooklyn on Dec 16th they are having an event at the King’s County Brewers Collective — Birds, Brews and Banter. http://bit.ly/wbfbbb They are funded almost entirely by donations so please be generous at http://www.wildbirdfund.org

    4. Ellen says:

      What a wonderful story!!

    5. Marcia Kaye says:

      While apparently this turkey’s “rescuer” acted under self serving motives — “rescuing” the bird so he could use itto make a film… nonetheless, the bird, happily, doesn’t know the venal motivation. Meantime: What a touching sight to see the young creature trusting and bonding with JB, who’s clearly humane, curious and empathic. Glad to learn
      about this struggling haven.

    6. KSF says:

      great MOVING TOWARD 100 % non meat eater

    7. Carol says:

      The shape that turkey was in when found just makes one wonder what we are eating…..