By ADAM DRAPCHO, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — A resident of a large Union Avenue apartment building had an experience on Tuesday night that she'd like to soon forget, after coming home in the evening to find a feathered intruder had made a shambles of her unit. A wild turkey had somehow crashed through her second-floor window during the five hours that she was out, and when she opened the door at around 9 p.m., she was greeted with a scene of mayhem – her belongings toppled and smashed, the spaced covered with feathers, blood and excrement, and on the windowsill, a wild turkey trying to find her way out.
"By the time I got there and opened the door, I couldn't believe my eyes," said the tenant, who asked not to be named. The tenant said that she had to close and re-open the door to be sure that she was indeed seeing what she thought she was seeing.
Wild turkeys, which had disappeared from New Hampshire until a successful repopulation effort began in 1969, are now a common sight in nearly every corner of the state. Still, there are several reasons why it was shocking for the tenant to find one in her apartment. She lives in the Normandin Square Apartments, a Laconia Housing Authority property within the large building which once contained the Scott and Williams textile mill. She lives on the second floor, and her windows are double-pane thermal glass, and have several utility lines strung in front of them.
"What that turkey was doing up on the second floor of the building, I have no idea," she said.
Bob Martel, maintenance worker for the Laconia Housing Authority, was equally surprised to get the call. He has worked in his current job for six years, and has lived in Laconia for all of his life. Still, this was a new experience for him.
"I've never had anything close to it," he said.
Martel said he received the call about the bird on Tuesday night, and called for police assistance while he was still on his way there.
He and the Laconia Police officer arrived at the same time, and when they entered the apartment they saw the bird perched on the windowsill.
"We looked and saw blood, a lot of blood – we were surprised that the bird was standing upright," he said. The turkey – Martel said it was a female – likely cut herself while breaking through the window.
Martel and the officer spent a few minutes observing the animal and trying to think of a way that they could humanely remove it from the building. He and the tenant were able to compile an assortment of items: a pole used for painting ceilings, a box and a large construction tote. Martel thought he could use the pole to hold the turkey in place.
"The bird didn't like that, though, when I held it down, and when the officer tried to put the box on top of the turkey, it took flight." The turkey smashed into a wall, knocking a light fixture to the ground. It then squeezed into a corner of the room, hiding behind a set of glass shelves.
Then, taking their time so as to not further provoke the animal, Martel was able to slowly pull the shelves away from the corner, giving the officer enough space to drop the box over the turkey. They then slid the tote underneath the thrashing bird, and the officer was able to to take the turkey out of the building.
The officer didn't return a call for comment, but a dispatcher for Laconia Police Department reported that the bird was taken to a rural part of town. "It was released and it was fine," said the dispatcher.
It took more than an hour for Martel and the officer to remove the turkey from the apartment. Reached on Thursday, the tenant was still recovering from the ordeal. In its frantic search for an exit, the bird had damaged much of her collection of crystal keepsakes.
"There's so much destruction (to items) that can't be replaced," she said. However, she kept a sense of humor about the incident.
"You have to – it's either laugh or cry," she said, adding, "I've got enough feathers to make a turkey pillow."
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