Nearby Weston is home to 'the crazy turkey lady'

If you told Eileen Buckley a year ago that she would soon become known as “The Crazy Turkey Lady,” she would have laughed in disbelief.
Yet that’s exactly what her family is calling her these days.
That’s because a flock of 20 wild turkeys have taken up residence in her back yard on Lyons Plain Road, and show no signs of leaving.
“They’ve moved in and are truly living here now,” she said.
The turkeys started appearing this past fall, pecking and grabbing birdseed from underneath a bird feeder located on the patio in her back yard.
Initially, she tried to scare them off because they were stealing food meant for ground-feeding songbirds such as cardinals.
But that didn’t work. The turkeys came by every morning, gobbling seeds from under the bird feeder during the day and making themselves at home in trees in Ms. Buckley’s yard at night.
“I thought they might just be passing through and would eventually leave, but they didn’t,” she said.      
So in order to keep the hungry interlopers away from her bird feeder, Ms. Buckley decided to feed them.
Twice a day — once in the morning and once in the afternoon — she puts handfuls of cracked corn on her patio for the flock of hungry turkeys to munch on. They also still scoop up any seed that falls from the bird feeder. “Turkeys are the kind of birds that would do nothing but eat all day if they could,” Ms. Buckley said.
The cardinals in the yard have adjusted to the hogging turkeys and have learned to get their daily quota of seed from the bird feeder itself, rather than from underneath on the patio and ground, where they would prefer to dine.
But all the songbirds get the bird feeder to themselves around 5 p.m., when the turkeys call it a day and fly up into Ms. Buckley’s trees for a good night’s rest. “They totally move as a group, with whatever they do,” she said.


To Ms. Buckley’s surprise, over the past few months, the turkeys have grown extremely drawn to her.
Initially, she said, the turkeys would come to her back door when she came outside to feed them. They didn’t bother or threaten her. Like birds of a feather, they flocked together, making gentle gobbling sounds in anticipation of their daily meal.
“There are three bullies in the group that try to move the others out of the way to get more cracked corn and seed. But all of them are fine towards me,” she said.
But lately, the attention from the birds has greatly intensified, and now Ms. Buckley is facing a yard of Peeping Tom turkeys.
“They look at me through the window. All I have to do is move and they come running to the door,” she said.
The turkeys are on the watch for Ms. Buckley’s every movement.
“When the phone rings, and I go to pick it up, the turkeys come running. They can be dozing, but if there’s the slightest movement at all from me inside the house, they run up to the door, hoping to be fed. It’s really quite funny,” she said.
Of all the yards in all of Weston, Ms. Buckley has no idea why this flock of turkeys has chosen to roost in her yard.
With the Saugatuck river behind her home, an occasional coyote will stroll by and hawks will fly overhead, both threats to wild turkeys. “They’re hanging out in my yard for some reason and they just don’t want to leave. None of my neighbors have turkeys in their yards, so I don’t know why they are here. Maybe it’s because of the bird feeder, or maybe it’s because they don’t want to move because of all the snow,” Ms. Buckley said.
It will be interesting to see what happens with the turkeys when the weather warms up, Ms. Buckley said. She fills the bird feeder to feed birds only in the winter. “Maybe they’ll go away in the spring during mating season. Turkeys aren’t the cleanest of birds,” she said wistfully.
But for now, she’s going to keep peace in her back yard, filling the bird feeder for the songbirds and putting cracked corn on the patio.
She’s not going to stop feeding her unexpected guests cold turkey.