The Re-launching of Scud

Birds are incapable of showing facial expression, huh?

Here is a Wild Turkey whose expression clearly says: I feel like hell.

This turkey flew through a window – as in,  through a closed window – and into a house, landing in a nice, cozy sitting room like a comet trailing shards of glass. She then proceeded to hurl herself around until the area resembled Sunday morning at Sigma Nu. I received a frantic call from Ron, the owner of the house, who happens to be the president of our local Audubon chapter, and who normally has quite a fondness for birds.

When I arrived, the comet herself was standing motionless in the corner, facing the wall; at least, she was until I attempted to throw a blanket over her, whereupon she sprang to life and tried to fly back out through the large hole in the window. Wildlife rehabilitators are used to grappling with unhappy creatures; so I wrestled her down, pushed her into the crate and took her home, where, try as I might, I could not find any outward sign of injury.

Even so, from both her history and the look on her face, I assumed the newly christened “Scud” had quite a nasty headache and gave her a good dose of anti-inflammatory medicine. A few hours later I went to the clinic to check on her; the hospital crate thundered as she made it clear that the very sight of me filled her with horror.

A week later I drove her back to the scene of the crime, where the owner of the shattered window and I carried her blanket-draped crate a few hundred yards away from his house. I pointed it in the opposite direction, opened the door and Scud burst out, launched herself into the air, made a quick U-turn and started flying, at remarkable speed, back toward the house.

“Lord!” cried Ron. “Not again!”

But unlike their poor, doomed domestic cousins, whose physiques have ballooned while their minds have atrophied, Wild Turkeys are both agile and smart. Scud rocketed over the house, and in an instant she was gone.

“Maybe you and I should take up gardening,” said Ron.

First photo by Suzie Gilbert; second photo by Gordon Eyre


About suziegilbert

I live in New York’s beautiful Hudson Valley and have been rehabbing birds for over twenty years. I’ve written a memoir about the slippery slope all rehabbers eventually slide down, called “Flyaway: How a Wild Bird Rehabber Sought Adventure and Found Her Wings,” published in 2009 by HarperCollins; and a children's book called "Hawk Hill," published in 1996 by Chronicle Books. I also write all kinds of freelance content. Please see my website,
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3 Responses to The Re-launching of Scud

  1. Terry Bain says:

    Oh, Scud, we didn’t know you long, but we will miss you!

  2. Emilyj says:

    Is the “flying turkey” photo actually Scud? Great picture, she certainly is beautiful in flight!
    BTW, anyone who says birds have no expressions just isn’t looking…says I.

  3. Eileen says:

    I never realized until the picture of Scud HOW MUCH turkeys and turkey vultures resemble each other

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