By Ellen Cicchitti
The spirit of Thanksgiving has made its way around DeSales, and so has the holiday’s mascot.
This feeling remains so as a flock of wild turkeys was spotted wandering around campus. They have been spotted near the University Villages, as well as near the Dorothy Day Center and the Trexler library.
While turkeys are common in the area of Center Valley and are permanent residents of Pennsylvania, their recent emergence onto campus has raised some eyebrows.
“A few weeks ago, I went on campus for a meeting and saw them around the sidewalk between Wills Hall and Dooling,” said Vice President for Campus Environment Marc Albanese. “[The groundskeepers] managed to chase them up to the field near Labuda.”
Even now, he and the other campus environment faculty cannot figure out why the turkeys were roaming around campus. Albanese speculates that they are looking for food. Although he stated that they did chase a couple of students, they seem friendly and do not appear to be afraid of anyone.
“I’ve been here for 16 years, and this is the first time that I had ever seen them wandering around so much on campus,” stated Albanese.
They usually go into unfamiliar places for food, but most of the better sustenance would be in the cornfields near Buckley House. There has not been a change of habitat, either, so that could not be a valid reason.
Albanese even asked his hunting friends if it was hunting season for turkeys, as it would make sense for the wild turkeys to head near DeSales since hunting is not allowed on university land.
Though the turkeys are not harming anyone, it is still the duty of the campus environment faculty to keep large animals away from university buildings. There is a way to get rid of the turkeys, and it is similar to the USDA protocol of getting rid of geese. The first step is to make them uncomfortable, but if that does not work, which according to Albanese it has not, then the next step is to find any turkey eggs and rub them with coconut oil. Although it’s a strange process, giving a different scent to the eggs will make the other turkeys stay far away from them, so then they would be less likely to return to the area.
“We’ve gotten them off the main part of campus, but we haven’t really done anything besides chase them off,” Albanese added. “I haven’t seen them since [Friday, Nov. 2], and we’re not sure what’s happened or why they haven’t appeared yet.”
Despite the nuisance of the turkeys, they have provided some entertainment for students and faculty.
“I think they bring a little humor to the crazy world we have here at DeSales,” Assistant Dean of Students for Student Engagement and Leadership, Nick Luchko, said. “It’s nice to go outside and see the turkeys just running around. It’s a nice break from the work.”
Though the turkeys seem to be away from the DeSales campus for now, it will be interesting to see if they make a return in the future.