This is going to ruffle the feathers of my Noosa Matters co-contributor Tony Wellington, a distinguished ex-mayor of Noosa and well-known bird-lover.
I’m no David Attenborough but I have identified a new species of Alectura lathami – commonly known as the humble brush or scrub turkey. I call my new discovery the ‘am-bush’ turkey.
On three recent occasions, I have been attacked by one of those pesky varmints. Once, as I sat down on a beachside bench with my morning coffee from the nearby Sails coffee kiosk. A head-nodding, tail-swishing, talon-twitching brush turkey pounced and shoulder-charged my large latte where it sat on the wall beside me.
Two weeks later, a BT (it might have been the same one, or a different one – they all look the same to me) did it again. But this time, the blasted bird made off with what I believe to be the best muffin in Noosa (the raspberry one, also from Sails). If I did not know that the brain of your average BT is no bigger than a blob of bubblegum on a shoe, I would suspect that knocking over the coffee cup was a clever tactic designed to distract me while it made off with my breakfast.
On the third occasion, not long after the first two muggings, I was sauntering past the groves minding my own business and listening, as is my habit, to an audiobook, when I felt a stinging sensation at my heel. I thought it was a mozzie, then turned to see it was a BT trying to bite my ankle. I swear it had a crumb of raspberry in its beak. Fortunately, two fearless older ladies came to my rescue and shooed the avian attacker away.
I tell you, fellow residents, between bats overhead, turkeys underfoot, and dastardly day-trippers around every corner, Noosa is becoming increasingly hard to navigate in safety.
If bats are rats with wings, then BTs are rats with feathers. They should all get stuffed but, as Tony would point out, that cannot happen as they are a protected species. In other words, Teflon turkeys. Besides, they probably wouldn’t taste very nice. A bit stringy.
What to do? As Tony has written in this very organ, a female BT can pop out up to twenty chicks at the end of each seven-week gestation. And, as I reckon they are not the most chaste of God’s creatures, that means theoretically, one horny hen could hatch as many as 100 little blighters a year.
Phew. That means the chickens will come home to roost in a few years’ time when Noosa is overrun by these rats with feathers, strutting around the Hastings Street precincts, leaving the usual trail of mulch and dead leaves behind them while menacing anyone quietly munching a muffin. This apocalyptic scenario has all the hallmarks of a Hitchcock movie.
So, my fellow Noosa residents, my advice to you is this: hold your pastries close to your chest, don heavy boots* while walking on the beach boardwalk and maybe arm yourself with a water pistol.
How to deal with the problem? Suggestions, please. I’ll award a raspberry muffin to the provider of the best solution to this very stuff of nightmares.
*For ankle protection, Tony, not for kicking the birds. Honest, mate!