Speared turkey ‘Archer’ recuperates in foster home
By Karen Brainard
The elusive wild turkey seen in San Diego Country Estates with a green arrow through his chest is recuperating at a foster home after his capture and the successful removal of the arrow by a veterinarian.
The turkey, known as “Archer,” was captured by two biologists with California Fish and Wildlife on Tuesday, June 25, and taken to Acacia Animal Health Center in Escondido.
“He’s healing well. We need to get a little bit more feathers to grow on him,” said the treatment supervisor at the animal hospital on Monday.
Archer’s foster home is with a local individual, she said.
Dr. Carrie Bone, D.V.M. with Acacia, said that when the animal hospital took X-rays of Archer, it appeared the arrow was all in the front muscle and did not damage any vital organs. She put him on antibiotics so an infection would not develop.
“It seems like he was pretty skinny,” she said.
Acacia has treated turkeys before, Bone said, “but never a turkey with an arrow through it.”
San Diego Country Estates residents first reported seeing the turkey with the green arrow in April and worried an infection would set in or he would become an easy target for predators.
Doug Lake, executive director with Emergency Animal Rescue in Ramona, said the turkey was hit with a target arrow that is not meant to kill animals like a hunting arrow.
Lake said he had been trying to catch Archer for three months.
“We chased him all over the place. He was able to run and fly and roosted up in the trees at night,” said Lake.
Although Archer was able to fly, the arrow prevented him from going as high as the other birds, Lake added.
Archer hung out within a few blocks of the Davis Cup Lane area, said Lake, who went there almost every evening and weekend to try to capture the turkey by dropping a net.
“He was quite elusive and quite wary of humans,” Lake said.
Fish and Wildlife officials were able to catch Archer with a net gun that shoots a net out 30 to 40 feet, Lake explained.
“I didn’t really care who got it, as long as someone got it,” he said.
Lake was part of a group — a combination of residents and volunteers — that was sitting around one time and decided to name the bird.
“Someone wanted to name him Green Arrow,” Lake said.
Archer, however, was suggested and it stuck.
Noting that residents put out food for Archer, Lake said, “He had been shunned by the rest of the flock because he was a little different from them.”
While Archer was at the animal hospital, Lake said he was planning to visit the bird.
“It got personal,” he said of his interaction with Archer, adding with a laugh, “After a while I’m being outsmarted by a turkey.”
According to Lake, Archer’s human neighbors in the Estates would like to seem him return.
A spokesperson for Fish and Wildlife said the agency responded to a similar circumstance in Davis last year.
“This is not unusual, unfortunately,” he said.
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