The Day – The turkeys Thelma and Louise take Groton by storm

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Groton – A pair of turkeys that make frequent appearances outside of shops along a short stretch of Route 1 have become local celebrities and put many people off being in the poultry mood.

Maybe you saw them in the driveway at Dunkin ‘, or they looked like they were waiting for Binet Cuts to open, or sitting on the railing in front of Emmanuel Borbon Karate-Do, or looking longingly at the Groton Pizza Palace or hanging out at the rental signs outside Groton Regency.

Alicia Delacruz-Lyda, who lives off Buddington Road, called the turkeys Thelma and Louise for “stopping traffic (and) doing pretty much what they want”.

As a school bus driver, Delacruz-Lyda always looks around, and she first noticed the turkeys a few months ago.

“They were just really funny and something to cheer everyone up,” she said. During the summer, she launched a turkey sightings Facebook page called The Adventures of Thelma & Louise Groton in mid-July, and people devoured its content: the page has over 700 followers.

“It’s funny because everyone’s looking for them now,” said Delacruz-Lyda. She said they had been spotted from The Spot to Route 1 to ALDI – and had never seen one without the other.

Recent sightings show that they weathered tropical storm Henri well.

Pawcatuck resident Eric Klotz, an Uber and Lyft driver, said he changed his routine specifically so he could catch a glimpse of Thelma and Louise.

He recently took photos of them on the grassy area adjacent to the Groton Shopping Plaza parking lot, in front of Mint Leaf. Klotz didn’t know at the time, but Delacruz-Lyda drove the car by making a video while he was taking his photos.

Klotz said in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the tropical storm and other “pain and misery” the turkeys bring “so much joy to a lot of people”.

Colleen Lynch acquired Books Etc., which is becoming No Other Book Like This, about a month ago and said she sees the turkeys almost every day. One day she opened the bookstore door and saw a small head peeping in.

“You’re so chill,” she said.

Don’t feed the turkeys

There has been some debate on social media about the sex of turkeys, but a wildlife biologist with the Department of Energy and Environment has put it down: after looking at the Facebook page, Michael Gregonis said they are both male.

He said he knew that because of the red color of the head, the feathering that didn’t reach the top of the head, its iridescence and its size. He said that these wild turkeys are about a year and three months old in the east, that most turkeys in Connecticut hatch in the first week of June.

Gregonis said the makeup of pairs and groups of turkeys varies throughout the year, and sometimes you can see a few male turkeys who are brothers.

Its main message is, “Don’t feed wild turkeys. There is enough food to support themselves; they don’t need to be fed.”

He said turkeys usually live in forests and fields, but they end up in suburbs or even urban areas because “people fed and accustomed these birds to people.”

Christine O’Brien, Groton City Animal Welfare Officer, said she had received requests to help the turkeys cross the street. But often the turkeys are already successful by the time she or someone else gets there.

“A lot of people have phoned in great alarm that they are seeing two turkeys, so we learned a lot that wild turkeys are normal,” said O’Brien. She added, laughing, “It appears we had an upward trend on the turkey calls with Thelma and Louise.”

Police Chief Louis J. Fusaro Jr. said he spotted the turkeys at the bookstore.

He joked about Thelma and Louise crossing the street: “Their traffic threat was short-lived, so we didn’t do anything about them. We didn’t issue them any tickets.”

One place they haven’t been seen before is in a 1966 Thunderbird convertible that drives over the Grand Canyon.

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Publisher’s Note: This version corrects Alicia Delacruz-Lyda’s last name.

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