A Trot in Harvard Square


When you drive over 200,000 miles in the span of three years, the odds are you’ll sometimes find yourself in just the right place, at just the right moment.

As most people well know turkeys are ubiquitous in the Boston area. I’ve seen these hapless gobblers in many different towns around the region. I will be writing about this in upcoming posts as well as sharing many photos and videos I’ve taken of these traditional New England birds in cities and towns, and on college and even corporate campuses. Above are a series of short video captures of one of my most famous sightings — right in the middle of Harvard Square.

I happened to be at the stop light in the Square. As I turned to my left, I saw this unexpected creature walking right toward me. It was rather oblivious to the people gawking at it (squawking about it?).  The photo journalist hack that I am, I grabbed my phone and clicked the red button. The reason why there are three short videos is because, by chance, I happened to have had my iPhone 6S set on “Video Burst” mode. My dumb luck.

A woman later told me there are two turkeys who make their homes (or nests?)  around the Square. I’ve seen different ones in different grassy parts of Cambridge. Someone told me she saw an older man shooing a group of them away on Brattle Street. They refused to move and in fact began to challenge him, she said.   Another rider from Brookline told me she saw Japanese students approached by turkeys in the Square start to freak out because they’d never seen them before.  She said they were roughly half their height and they thought they were dinosaurs because there are no turkeys in Japan. 

Several people commented about my sighting:

  1. They noted this particular turkey might be headed to the “coop”. A reference to the Harvard Co-op bookstore which was directly to my right.

  2. That it could be a freshman wearing traditional crimson attire as part of a hazing ritual.

  3. A doctor visiting from out of town (presumably New Haven) noted, “There are a lot of turkeys at Harvard."

I actually told the last story to a couple of Harvard freshmen I picked up. One of them cheerfully added she had seen them around campus too.

“I don’t think think the man was referring to animals,” I said.

“OOOOHHH!” she replied.