Turkey shatters student window in East Quad
On Thursday afternoon, a turkey flew into Tiffany Mei '16 and Kayla Newby's '16 dormitory window in Hassenfeld-Krivof in East Quad. According to multiple accounts, after the turkey shattered the window, its leg was stuck in the window. However, the turkey escaped, leaving only a few feathers and blood where it had been injured. A video that was shot of the incident went viral on YouTube.
Newby said she was alone in the room when the turkey flew into the window. "Our shade was down and I couldn't tell what had caused the glass to shatter; my first thought was that it had been a bomb or something because it was so loud and sudden, but then I heard the yelling from the ground and I figured I wasn't actually in any further danger," Newby wrote in an email to the Justice.
According to Newby, she screamed, which startled it "so much it flapped its wings until the glass broke enough to free it from the window and it flew away," she wrote. The students outside of the dormitory told Newby that the turkey was able to run away after it landed.
According to Mei, she was walking back from class when the incident occurred, and was with her friend who lives across the hall. Mei heard the news from her friend's roommate. "This sounds bad, but when I first heard, I couldn't stop laughing, and I was a bit skeptical," wrote Mei in an email to the Justice.
According to Mei, Facilities Services placed a Plexiglas sheet where the window had been to keep the room insulated and cleaned up the glass just after the incident occurred, so Mei and Newby were able to sleep in their own room that night. The following day, Facilities replaced the window in its entirety.
"Unfortunately, there's still lots of shards lying around the room. I vacuumed after the initial shattering of the window after Facilities had already vacuumed some of it up, but my bed is right next to the window so there was some glass on there," wrote Mei.
However, Newby wrote that Facilities immediately cleaned up the larger pieces of glass and vacuumed the floor. "There were still some large glass shards remaining that had fallen inside of our heater, but those were removed the very next day when the glass company replaced our window," Newby wrote. "Everything was back to normal in under 24 [hours] of the incident, although I do have a very real fear of turkeys now."
One of the students waiting outside was Max Zaslove '16, who filmed the incident. He posted the video, titled "I didn't know turkeys could FLY?!" to YouTube that day. The video went viral, and had over 264,000 views as of Monday. According to Zaslove, when he went to bed the night he posted the video, it had about 3,000 views. When he woke up the next morning, the video had about 75,000 views.
Zaslove said that as he and his roommate were walking down the hill to East Quad, he saw several turkeys. "[W]hen one or two started taking off and flying, I figured I should just catch it on video, I'd never seen turkeys fly before!" wrote Zaslove in an email to the Justice.
Zaslove wrote that when the video only had about 300 views, he was contacted by an independent licensing agency and partner of YouTube expressing interest in representing the video. "I was surprised someone had already taken note of the video, and I did extensive research on the company before having a long phone call with the agent," Zaslove wrote.
Zaslove made a deal with the agency to represent, protect and market the video to websites and news stations in return for 30 percent of the video's advertisement revenues. Zaslove wrote that he will receive the rest of the revenues and profits from independent buyers.
"Honestly, I'm always happy to get a laugh. I knew while filming that I'd want to show it to my friends, but had no idea it'd be shown to so many," wrote Zaslove. "I'm pleased the video was a hit, and feel like making a viral video is a bucket list sort of event, so I'm glad I can check it off."
In the video, Zaslove expresses that he wants to help the turkey. According to Zaslove, after he stopped filming, he called University Police for help.
"I have to admit that this is one of the weirder things I have ever seen happen," wrote Senior Vice President for Communications Ellen de Graffenreid of the incident in an email to the Justice.
According to Prof. Dan Perlman (BIOL), he only started seeing the turkeys on the University's campus a few years ago. Perlman wrote in an email to the Justice that turkeys were native and widespread before Europeans got here, but that the last turkey in Massachusetts was killed in 1851. Turkeys were reintroduced to Massachusetts on purpose, according to Perlman, in the early 1970s. "[T]hey have gone forth and multiplied, big time!" Perlman wrote.
Although Perlman wrote that these turkeys "clearly add a lot to our native biodiversity," he wrote that "[t]hey also cause problems, at times, during their interactions with the many humans across the landscape."
"That's ecology: every change has multiple effects," Perlman wrote.