Kemptville has fallen in love with a hen named Van Turken
Town's most famous turkey still on the lam
- Van Turken was captured Feb. 13 and safely released south of the Grenville area, OPP said.
People in Kemptville can't stop gobbling up photos and videos of the most famous bird in town, Van Turken the wild turkey.
The hen was first spotted in December strutting along her namesake Van Buren Street in the community south of Ottawa.
The Facebook group Van Turken — Kemptville's favourite turkey now has nearly 1,800 members as of Thursday morning. The town had about 3,900 residents in the 2016 census.
Images of Van Turken perched on cars, marching in front of moving vehicles, trotting through parking lots and even chasing people are posted daily, along with dozens of posts praising the bird and her boldness.
"This chick is all kinds of drama!" writes one Facebook poster.
"I think she left her flock, probably fed up with them LOL," writes another.
Watch Van Turken chase away a civil servant.
Local businesses have jumped on the turkey train, creating Van Turken T-shirts, to-go cups and coffee cozies.
"It's turned into quite the phenomenon," said Jill Sturdy, communications coordinator with the Municipality of North Grenville.
"The town really wants this bird to be the town mascot."
While wild turkeys are common in Kemptville and the surrounding areas, Sturdy said it's strange to see one alone and it's even more odd to see one seemingly at ease around lots of people.
"Usually when you see turkeys, you see them in a group and you see them in some of the fields," she said.
"Where she hangs out the most is on a very busy intersection on County Road 43 which is the main thoroughfare through the town."
The turkey has so far evaded two efforts by natural resources officers to capture her and take her to a more tranquil, natural environment, said Sturdy.
While some joke about inviting Van Turken over for Sunday dinner or using her as a traffic calming measure, Sturdy said the town hopes she can be caught sooner rather than later to ensure she doesn't get hit by a car.
"People love this turkey and they want the best for her," she said.
CBC has reached out to the Kemptville branch of the Ministry of Natural Resources but has yet to hear back.