Fifth Street residents stand behind their turkey

Post office won’t deliver mail to neighborhood

By Vicky Wedig


To North Fifth Street residents, the turkey who has wandered the neighborhood since it was born and abandoned there is one of their own.

He attracts paparazzi of sorts – locals who stop to take pictures; has his own personality – likes to chase cars; even has

SUBMITTED PHOTO Delavan Enterprise
The “Fifth Street turkey” wanders the neighborhood where the U.S. Postal Service stopped mail delivery after a carrier was reportedly chased and attacked by the bird.

preferences – prefers silver and red cars for chasing.

Fifth Street resident Connie Holden said city police officers and public works employees come by to gobble at “Tom,” and the somewhat vain young jake likes to catch a glimpse of his reflection in the cars along the street.

“We all just absolutely adore him,” Holden said.

But the adoration falls flat with mail carrier Kevin Nevin, who has reportedly been chased and attacked by the turkey.

U.S. Postal Service Spokesman Sean Hargadon said anytime mail carriers don’t feel safe because of a threat or loose animal in a neighborhood, the Postal Service looks for a solution. He said typically the animal involved is a dog, and the situation can be remedied by working with the pet’s owner. He said this situation is unique because the animal has no owner but many supporters.

“It appears the community’s rallied around the bird quite a bit,” Hargadon said.

Neighbors called police and erected no-trespassing signs after they saw people in the area with nets, poles and ropes trying to capture the turkey March 1. Resident Chris Phillips the Walworth County humane officer tried to catch the bird after receiving a complaint about it.

Lakeland Animal Shelter Executive Director Kristin Perry said the shelter received a call from someone saying the turkey was at risk and causing potential risk to human life. Perry said the matter was referred to county Humane Officer Cindy Wrobel, who went to the neighborhood to access the situation.

Wrobel did not return telephone calls or respond to an email asking whether she tried to capture the bird.

Residents complained March 2 to police, who contacted Wrobel and asked her to “leave the issue alone for the time being due to the neighbors getting involved and dealing directly with the post office to resolve this issue.” Wrobel told police she had referred the matter to the state Department of Natural Resources, which she said might choose to remove and relocate the turkey since it is a wild animal.

Perry said wild animals are out of the shelter’s area of expertise, but out of concern for the safety of the turkey and the public, the organization notified the DNR, which the city also asked to leave the matter alone.

“All agencies have been told to back off,” Perry said.

Hargadon said Delavan Post Master Alice Henson also contacted the DNR. Phillips said the DNR was expected to come to the neighborhood to observe the turkey and determine whether it is harmful. Phillips said he was uncertain whether that had been done as of last week.

“So far everybody that’s been out here has deemed this turkey sort of harmless,” he said.

Phillips said he also broached the post office to address the situation and was met with resistance. Since that visit, he said, mail has stopped to seven houses on the street.

Hargadon said mail is on hold for a few houses where the bird has been spotted. He said residents can pick their mail up at the post office where it will be held until the end of the month. If the situation has not been remedied by then, the post office will have to figure out an alternate method of delivery, Hargadon said.

“It’s a difficult situation because when you can’t deliver the mail, something has to be done to address it,” he said.

Phillips said residents were told that after 30 days, their mail would no longer be held and would be returned to senders. He said the post office told residents they would have to purchase a $1,500 multi-unit, apartment-type box to put at the end of their street to continue to have mail delivered.


  1. Ok…..I have read and re-read this article numerous times. All I can say is, “Really??!”
    From what the article states, many agencies have been contacted about this so-called issue….IN MY OPINION, .it appears to be an ISSUE because of the postal services perspective. UNDERSTANDABLY, from what I have read in the rules & regs, ‘mail carriers have the right to NOT deliver mail if (mail carrier) deems there are hazards, etc…….rather than calling in all the agencies, AND furthermore, CANCELLING mail delivery to 7 houses, with the 30 day stipulation & possible $1500 multi-unit mailbox erected…what?? we’re these residents given their due process on all of this?? Just askin…..

    The facts are that Tom has much support & has not bothered anyone else?
    That said……
    Well, perhaps a DIFFERENT mail carrier could do that route, and there would be no problem?? Just sayin…..
    Might be worth a try rather than all of this other energy going on……for a seemingly harmless bird, who appears to have much support. I mean, what if it were a Canadian Goose next week…..?? Or, a huge crow the next week??
    Let’s use some common sense….give the route to a different carrier, and leave Tom alone… he matures, he will likely seek out a different environment…..
    Good luck To Tom and 5th St. Residents……make sure you know your rights.

    • Maybe you should stop using CAPITALS all the time and let your argument stand on its own. You’re seriously undermining your credibility with poor writing style.