It’s time to talk turkey. At least it is in Rocky River, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland hard by the shores of Lake Erie, where flocks of combative turkeys are preventing mail carriers from delivering mail to a portion of the city. The town’s mayor, Pam Bobst, said the Rocky River branch of the United States Postal Service (USPS) officially notified the city that the turkeys were creating unsafe working conditions for carriers in these areas.
As a result, dozens of homes have been without mail delivery service for three weeks or more. Carriers have been attempting to deliver the mail, but are being routinely accosted by the pugnacious birds. A city ordinance prevents the eradication of the turkeys, so a letter was recently sent out asking residents to immediately stop putting out bird food of any kind. According to Mayor Bobst, “There’s a lot of bird feeders over there, so there’s a food source in that area. It is an issue, so we’ve asked residents to cease putting out bird seed and bird food so we can see if they will go down to the Metroparks.”
David Van Allen, regional spokesman for the USPS, noted that his plucky mail carriers are beginning to deliver in the evening, apparently in the hopes that the birds will have roosted by then. But, just in case, “The carriers are carrying an air horn to see if that will scare off the turkeys, if that will discourage them. We’re attempting to deliver every day and we will continue to do that,” he said. Van Allen stated that some carriers have been pecked, but none have been hurt thus far. He added, “We’re sorry for any inconvenience to people.”
Apparently, his carriers, be they male or female, are literally hen-pecked. What to make of this fowl play? And what happened to “Neither rain nor sleet…?”
The postal service mission statement is found in Section 101(a) of Title 39 of the U.S. Code, a.k.a. the Postal Reorganization Act: “The Postal Service shall have as its basic function the obligation to provide postal services to bind the Nation together through the personal, educational, literary, and business correspondence of the people. It shall provide prompt, reliable, and efficient services to patrons in all areas and shall render postal services to all communities.” Unless they are inundated by obnoxious turkeys.
The postal service’s long-time- if unofficial- motto has been, “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”
Turkeys, however, are another story.