Turkey is everywhere this time of year — featured in ads, cartoony holiday window clings, grocery store freezer aisles and for many families, the place of honor at the table on Thursday.
But for Jeff Byrne, there’s a much more present turkey that features in his daily life.
According to WTMJ-TV, Byrne has been a postman with the U.S. Postal Service for more than two decades in Waukesha County, Wisconsin. He’s had plenty of run-ins with birds and beasts of all sorts, but the turkey this year was a new one even for the veteran mailman.
“Dogs, some rabbits, birds every once in a while, but never a turkey,” Byrne told WISN-TV of his animal encounters. Although turkeys are a kind of bird, anyone who has been around one will vouch for their link to dinosaurs.
Starting this summer, though, a very plucky tom (male) turkey has taken a shine to Byrne — or maybe just sees him as an intruder or a rival. It’s hard to tell, and the turkey doesn’t seem interested in explaining himself.
“He didn’t pay me any attention at all in the first couple of months,” the postman explained. “He’s acquainted himself quite well with the truck, and now he’s started to follow me.”
“For the last month, he’s been pretty consistent with being out here every day,” Byrne told WTMJ-TV. “Not sure if it’s the color of the truck. Not sure what he really likes. He was with a bunch of female turkeys.”
“He did startle me one time last week when I was coming back to the truck. He kind of jumped up and flapped his wings, feathers, or whatever it is. Got real close to my face.”
Apparently, in the beginning Byrne used to yell at the turkey to tell him to get back, but said that now they’re no longer on speaking terms.
While the turkey hasn’t done anything yet besides be clingy and get in the way, Byrne now carries a small air horn with him — just in case of an “emergency.”
Meanwhile, neighbors have gotten a kick out of the blossoming friendship (or whatever it is), and resident Sherry Michaels posted a video to Facebook highlighting the absolute dedication of the tom.
What if I told you that your mail would be a little late because a wild turkey is chasing your mailman?
Because it is happening to one brave postman in Waukesha. pic.twitter.com/WAEWimihxq
— Tony Atkins (@TonyAtkinsTV) November 19, 2019
“Our poor mail carrier has been dealing with this for a month!” she posted.
“Okay, seriously, this turkey has been stalking the mail truck throughout the entire neighborhood,” she narrates in the clip while driving slowly behind the mailman and filming. “This is so great.”
Over 400,000 people have shared her video and added in their own suggestions for why the turkey might be following so closely on the mailman’s heels.
“Yo … you got anything in there for me from the White House?” wrote one viewer. “I wrote them over a month ago asking for a presidential pardon. Time’s runnin’ out for me dude! Are you sure you ain’t got nuthin’ in there for me!!?”
“Dude!” wrote another. “You HAVE to ship me by Airmail overseas! I’d do it myself but I can’t fly! They’re trying to eat me here!”
And Byrne seems to have thought of some of those points himself, as he told the WISN reporter when asked if the persistent fowl was a bother.
“It’s Thanksgiving,” Byrne answered. “I can’t say he’s annoying. Too close to his holiday.”
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