Co-founders of Sequim, WA’s Precious Life Animal Sanctuary Ralph and Caryl Turner didn’t expect to welcome nearly a dozen turkeys to their intimate facility, but neither did the residents of nearby La Conner, their hometown. Six years ago, a pair of birds decided to nest in the small tourist town and soon gained local popularity. The turkeys would strut past La Conner’s businesses, art galleries, and museums, and eventually the turkey was named the town’s official bird. But as their avian family grew to a total of 18, a vocal minority of townspeople spoke out against their presence, saying that the flock destroyed gardens and could potentially attack children. After it became apparent that the townspeople wanted to eliminate the birds by euthanizing them or using them for target practice, Precious Life Animal Sanctuary stepped in as the only option as a provider of long-term, humane care. Due to such a swift move-in, the birds were placed in a makeshift rabbit shelter, but were soon able to spread their wings after dedicated volunteers helped to swiftly build a new enclosure. Now, this loyal pack has become so comfortable, the ladies happily lay eggs and the males strut in full-bloom to impress their female counterparts. They even warble when visitors approach and are ever-curious creatures. Their favorite treats are peanut shells, sunflower seeds, and grapes, and they even leave fun surprises for children, who are pleased to find a shiny, iridescent turkey feather. To the Turners, they’re just another part of the family.
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