Zelda is a female wild turkey that has lived in New York's Battery Park since mid-2003. Although flocks of wild turkeys are more common in the city's greener parts (including the Bronx's Pelham Bay Park and Van Cortlandt Park]] and Staten Island's South Beach Psychiatric Hospital) due to the ban on hunting, Zelda is believed to be the only one in Manhattan. Previous Manhattan turkeys included Giuliani (Riverside Park, may have actually been Zelda due to the timing) and Hedda Gobbler, ((Morningside Park).
Zelda is named after Zelda Fitzgerald (the wife of F. Scott Fitzgerald), because (according to legend) during one of Zelda Fitzgerald's nervous breakdowns, she went missing and was found in Battery Park, apparently having walked several miles downtown. It is presumed that she entered Manhattan's north end from the Bronx in 2002 as a wild turkey fitting her description was first spotted in Riverside Park and then near the American Museum of Natural History and Tavern on the Green.. She continued to make her way downtown before finally settling in Battery Park.
She has occasionally wandered from the park, possibly in search of a mate.. Each summer she leaves the park to nest and lay unfertilized eggs. In 2004 she was seen in Tribeca before being captured and returned to Battery Park. In 2007 a turkey, presumably Zelda, was spotted in Greenwich Village and Tribeca. She spent the summer of 2013 in nearby Battery Park City.
In 2006 and again in 2009, she garnered wider attention when some tourists began to fear for her safety around Thanksgiving.
. In 2012, she drew attention when it was realized that she survived Hurricane Sandy after having been missing for five days. While most wild turkeys only live to be six years old, Zelda is at least ten.
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