This little guy was outside my bedroom window, on the fire escape. Keep in mind that I live in a fifth floor walk-up. In Harlem. Yes there are parks two blocks away, and a few trees between here and there, but most of the surroundings is brick, concrete and tarmac. I think this is a grasshopper, but maybe it's some kind of locust. The latter would make a bit more sense, I suppose, though if it is, it got separated from the ravening hordes.
But this isn't even the best recent sighting. I headed down to Battery Park yesterday to catch an outdoor performance of Kinesis Project. I had only just left the South Ferry terminal when I met this fellow strutting along.
I approached him gingerly, assuming he (she?) would be easily spooked, but while he clearly lost interest in chatting once it became clear I had no food, he also didn't seem particularly perturbed by me, or any of the other gazillion people in the area. This is the park where one can catch a ferry to Staten Island, the Statue of Liberty, or Ellis Island, so the place is crawling with tourists, especially on a sunny Sunday in late Summer.
I took these photos close to a huge memorial to Navy veterans, so I began to wonder if this bird was the spirit of Ben Franklin, still campaigning for the wild turkey to be our national bird. He thought the bald eagle was a poor choice, since it's basically a scavenger. Wild turkeys, according to ole Ben, are clever, resilient birds, and would have made a much more appropriate national symbol.
Needless to say, his idea never really caught on with the larger public. I'm sure I'm not doing justice to his argument.
Obviously this isn't a wild turkey, and my understanding is the domestic ones are dumber than a box of hammers (I guess that blows my spirit of Ben Franklin theory), but I found this fellow rather jaunty. I haven't the slightest idea what he was doing there. Melissa has seen him in the area before though. This would suggest that he isn't some eccentric Wall St millionaire's pet, or a lost farm exhibit. He's just a turkey, living in Battery Park.
Sometimes I really love New York.