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Turkeys the talk o’ the town

By: Roger Phelps, The Telegrpah
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If being civic-minded and public-spirited is the new cool, one can’t fairly call these guys turkeys. Wild turkeys have gone public in Folsom, edging out of wooded swales and promenading Natoma Street lawns at Jack Kipp Civic Center. Whether this high profile is something new is a question puzzling numerous residents willing to talk turkey. “It’s unusual to see them here (next to Natoma Street),” said resident Roger Corbett. “It’s the advent of a new thing.” A combination of seeming new boldness with the obviously shy nature of the game bird is intriguing people frequenting the City Hall area. The birds make sure to get out of the way of a passerby, but that’s it, and the local flock appears to be trying to practice a slowed-down, more sedate “I’m leaving now” move, probably foreign to a hard-wired, speed-bursting first step necessary to escape predators. “Yesterday I sat on the bench eating lunch and watching them,” said Lydia Fish, assistant city clerk. “A cat came by. All six of them stopped. They were saying, ‘Don’t move.’” Eric Dominguez said he worked last fall on a remodel of the Folsom Senior Center next to City Hall. “I could see them coming from the area of the prison,” Dominguez said. “Now, shoot, they’re everywhere.” The highly evolved pheasant in question is -- or, some say, isn’t -- native to northern California. Whereas a native southern California species has died out, the Nor-Cal type is doing well in Folsom. “We’re about ready to roast a couple,” quipped Peggy Martin, front-desk official at the senior center. “They’re multiplying. They’re very cute, and people have been stopping before parking to let them cross. In midday, they’re in full force.” Senior-center regular Theresa Dugard said, “I’m scared I’m going to run over them.” Other regulars at the senior center, too, count on seeing the turkeys as part of a well-rounded day. “I own them,” said Sharon Kamber. “It makes me feel so good to see them.” Several residents downplayed the seeming new high profile in favor of playing up the fact that the lower foothills have long been home to numerous flocks of wild turkey. But Fish isn’t so sure. “I live in Rocklin,” she said. “I would never see turkeys in Rocklin. Now, I’ve got one in my back yard.” The Telegraph’s Roger Phelps can be reached at rogerp@goldcountrymedia.com, or post a comment at folsomtelegraph.com.