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Tammy the Turnpike Turkey, we hardly knew ye: Wayward wild turkey caught on New Jersey Turnpike

November 18, 2009 |  5:45 pm

A wild turkey walks across the toll booths at exit 14B of the New Jersey Turnpike in Jersey City, N.J.

A wild turkey that's taken up residence at a New Jersey tollbooth and spends its days scooting around 18-wheelers won't have to dodge Thanksgiving traffic. State Fish and Wildlife officials netted the bird Wednesday after failed attempts during the weekend.

The turkey had been trotting around the busy toll booth since the spring, weaving around traffic at the 14B interchange in Jersey City.

"Apparently, this turkey decided to make Jersey City her home, alongside of one of the top five busiest toll roads in America," said turnpike spokesman Joe Orlando. "She didn't want to leave, she was a regular, and to be honest with you, she probably had better attendance than a lot of the employees."

Wildlife officials believe the 11-pound female turkey may have taken a wrong turn out of Staten Island and become disoriented. She spent her days causing stunned truck drivers to slam on their brakes and prompting some spectators to run across several lanes of traffic to pose for pictures with her.

New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife biologist Tony McBride holds a wild turkey after capturing the bird near exit 14B of the New Jersey Turnpike Toll collector Robin Bonner and her colleagues have nicknamed the scraggly bird "Tammy the Turnpike Turkey."

"I'm going to miss her when she's gone," said Bonner, who has been feeding the turkey Cracker Jacks and sunflower seeds. "Tammy has become the hit of the turnpike; she's a good bird."

Turnpike officials finally decided to have Tammy removed after complaints from drivers intensified.

The turkey kept wildlife officials at bay for nearly an hour Wednesday, as they crept around behind her with a net gun to try to capture her. After a few more trips back and forth across several lanes, she was scooped up, placed in a cardboard box, and driven to the Popcorn Zoo in Lacey Township.

-- Associated Press

Top photo: Tammy the Turnpike Turkey walks in front of toll booths at exit 14B of the New Jersey Turnpike in Jersey City, N.J.  Credit: Mel Evans / Associated Press

Bottom photo: New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife biologist Tony McBride holds Tammy after capturing her near exit 14B Wednesday.  Credit: Mel Evans / Associated Press

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