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Battery Park's Resident Turkey Returns Home After Annual Summer 'Vacation'

By Irene Plagianos | September 4, 2013 3:25pm
 Zelda the Turkey returns to Battery Park after her annual summer 'vacation.'
Zelda the Turkey Returns to Battery Park
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BATTERY PARK — Sometimes, even a turkey needs a change of scenery.

Zelda, Battery Park’s beloved resident turkey, was spotted back home Wednesday, after spending the summer up the waterfront in Battery Park City, said Pat Kirshner, the Battery Conservancy's director of operations.

The bird, a fixture in Battery Park since she mysteriously wandered into the gardens in 2003, takes a hiatus from her usual habitat every summer — heading elsewhere to lay unfertilized eggs and nest for about six weeks.

“Oh Zelda, she still hasn’t realized that Mr. Turkey is going to come along,” said Kirshner with a laugh, saying the unfertilized eggs will never hatch. “We like to say she sits on her eggs waiting for the milagro — the miracle.”

Kirshner said the conservancy staff used to be a bit nervous when Zelda disappeared.

“But we get reports of her whereabouts,” Kirshner said of the bird, who was named for the wife of novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald, who was also once discovered wandering in Battery Park. “She’s nested in many spots Downtown, even construction sites."

The conservancy doesn’t like to reveal the details of Zelda's summertime jaunts, since they don’t want people to disturb the bird's nest.

Most wild turkeys only live to be about 6 years old, but Zelda, who's managed to avoid being turned into Thanksgiving dinner — and also survived Hurricane Sandy — is at least 10 years old, Kirshner said.

"We know she's a tough bird," Kirshner said. "But we always feel better when we see her back home."