West Side Rag’ Turkey Saved by Art Student Recovers on UWS; Directed to a 100 acre estate (not to eat!)

Posted on November 27, 2019 at 9:24 a.m. by West Side Rag

By Carol Tannenhauser

Tutu, a turkey of undetermined sex (too young to tell), was rescued from a slaughterhouse last week by a student from the School of Visual Arts, who wanted to do an art project about rescuing a turkey in Thanksgiving time.

“The student went to a poultry market and bought Tutu and hid it at school,” said Rita McMahon, director of the Wild Bird Fund (WBF), a nonprofit clinic on Columbus Avenue and 87th Street, where injured New York City wildlife is brought in for treatment. WSR visited on Tuesday. The room was filled with cages containing recovering birds, turtles and squirrels. (They’ll take all wildlife except raccoons and skunks.) Tutu roamed free, checking the place and people, while a Canadian goose stood with its beak buried in its feathers.

Rita McMahon.

“School administrators found Tutu and weren’t very happy,” Rita continued. “They came the next day with the turkey and the student to deliver it. The student had wanted to keep it, but you can’t keep a turkey in New York; it’s against the health code. We assured him that we would find a good home for Tutu, who is a lucky bird. He/she would surely have been a Thanksgiving dinner.

Instead, in about 10 days, when fully recovered from the ailments and injuries sustained in the poultry market “pen”, Tutu will be picked up and delivered to a 100-acre estate, owned by a florist in the Upper East Side (Zeze), with three bird keepers, two ponds and a barn, where he/she will spend his days in safety and peace.

Below, Tutu browses through her benefactor’s pamphlet.

And here, Tutu and WBF staffer Jerry Basford bond.

Kayleen C. Rice