The Infamous Turkeys of BU Have an Instagram

The native Brookline turkeys have undoubtedly developed infamy among the BU community with people chasing them away from the roads, off the T tracks, and just generally out of harm’s way. In some ways, seeing the turkeys on Comm Ave has almost become like a celebrity sighting. Thanks in part to the Instagram dedicated to them called Turkeyspotting, the turkeys even have their own paparazzi.

The Instagram account started on October 6, 2017, and is run by Rachel Smith and Izzy Weinberg, both seniors in COM.  What started out as an inside joke has grown into a small community of fans sending in their spots of the “wild vagrant turkeys of bu,” as the Instagram name states. The account now has 74 posts and 286 followers.

"It was just one of those thoughts you have with your friends that ended up becoming a real thing," said Smith. "This is something me and my friends all share and laugh about and the fact that other people are connecting, that’s just cool."

The account was intended to just be something funny for Smith to do with her friends. However, Smith notes that she became obsessed with it and wanted to keep the account going.

"It’s turkeys. BU has bunnies which isn't as crazy, but turkeys are inherently funny animals,” Smith said. “That’s what makes it so good."

In the beginning, Smith and Weinberg would have to post asking for people to send in submissions. However, now as the account has grown, they have a draft folder of 20 turkey spots waiting to be posted. While they still aren’t at the point of declining any turkey spots, if they continue to grow Smith hopes that they’ll be able to work on developing the account into something more organized but still fun.

Turkeys standing in traffic, balancing on railings, and preventing the T from running are a few of the posts often seen on the account. The account not only highlights the turkeys' funny behavior but also how the BU community cares about them and their safety.

The account's first post was of the turkeys on a traffic divider with busy lanes of cars surrounding them. The caption was "first turkeys of the season!!! Hopefully, they survive this Thanksgiving." The following post carried a similar sense of concern through a Snapchat captioned "GET OFF THE STREET SWEETIE.”

Besides the general concern the public has for the turkeys, another reason the account has grown a small following is due to the shock of seeing turkeys, of all animals, on campus, said Smith.

"I never thought of them as something I could just see walking down the street, especially at an urban school,” Smith said. “So I just think it’s crazy that they’re here in the first place.”

Despite running the account, Smith says she herself rarely sees the turkeys. Since starting the account, she has only spotted them once, an occasion she documented on Instagram Live for the Turkeyspotting account.

"I just wanted to see them so badly," Smith said. "I was walking with my friends and we both freaked out."

While she rarely gets to spot them, Smith does have some favorite spots by those who have submitted to the Instagram account. She says her two favorites are one submitted of turkeys silhouetted against a sunset in Zanzibar, a rare out-of-Boston spot, from September and a 120mm shot of the turkeys on campus from February.

"It makes people happy to see their own thing shown on the account,” Smith said. “It’s this cool moment for everyone.”

With both Smith and Weinberg being seniors, Smith says she hopes to keep the Turkeyspotting account going by passing on the torch to someone she trusts. For now, however, she just wants to keep having fun with the account and remind everyone to keep submitting their turkey spots.

"It’s cool to have something that was an inside joke become something,” Smith said. "A joke between friends that has become a joke between other friends."

 

As the only Instagram account in existence dedicated to spotting turkeys, Turkeyspotting is one of a kind and a truly unique addition to BU's community.

 

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