Semi-Wild Turkeys* Near the Orcas Ferry Landing, Nov. 21, 2020 | Staff photo

Q: Why did the turkeys cross the road?

A: Because they could.

Okay, the punch line isn’t especially funny, but it’s kind of amazing: We live in a place where flocks of (semi-) wild turkeys* have enough intact habitat to roam free. This photo was taken near the Orcas ferry landing on November 21, 2020—the Saturday before Thanksgiving.

This week is when we in the United States think about the things we are thankful for, and to spend time with family and friends. It’s been a rough year, and this will be like no other Thanksgiving in living memory. It’s as if the Grinch came a month early and stole another cherished holiday, just when we need it the most.

And yet, despite the difficulties of the past year—and even, in part, because of them—we at the San Juan Preservation Trust are so very grateful for you. You know who you are: the volunteers and supporters who have stood with us this year and continue to show that conserving land, clean water, and places for wildlife in the San Juan Islands is important work.

We’re thankful to be living in a place where wild turkeys have enough connected forests, open spaces, and clean water that they can roam freely. They are symbolic of the wild nature that we all need in our lives to stay healthy and grounded.

At this time of year, these turkeys are also symbolic of the deep gratitude we feel for you and for the work we are so privileged to do, together. Happy Thanksgiving—and …


* We realize that these “wild” turkeys are not native to the islands. Nor are they truly wild. They may be feral descendants of domesticated turkeys that escaped from farms. Another theory is that they were introduced as game birds for hunting.

However they got here, several flocks of these sometimes vocal gobblers do roam “wild” on Orcas Island. As introduced animal species go, they seem fairly benign—unless you have to stop to let them cross the road and you’re in a hurry.