Zelda’s still hot to trot


Zelda, Battery Park’s turkey, was foraging near Battery Gardens restaurant last Friday, the day before Valentine’s Day and a safe nine months from Thanksgiving.

Pat Kirshner, the Battery Conservancy’s director of operations and planning, said Zelda has been a park regular since 2003 and only leaves to search for a mate.

“There’s one in Riverside Park, there’s some in Staten Island and the Bronx,” Kirshner said of the city’s turkey population.

Like most turkeys, Zelda can fly over rivers to other boroughs and last made the pages of Downtown Express when she was spotted on a jaunt to Washington Market Park and Houston St. in June 2007.

She went mostly unnoticed last Friday, but she won’t be in need of a presidential pardon this or any November since she has become a beloved figure in the park. Kirshner said Zelda has an impromptu fans’ club and lunchtime visitors often seek out the bird.

Park rangers have advised the conservancy to let Zelda be and that she’ll stay as long as things are going well.

A Wisconsin tourist who has wild turkeys told Kirshner that they typically live to be about 8, which may mean Zelda is nearing the end of her golden years in the park. Kirshner has noticed age creeping up on Zelda.

“She’s a little less shiny, a little less fluffy,” said Kirshner.

But that doesn’t mean she won’t have time to find at least one more special fellow before it’s time.

— Josh Rogers