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One-Legged Turkey 'Eileen' to Remain in Township

The Division of Fish & Wildlife will not take the bird as long as she continues to behave normally.

Eileen, the one-legged turkey that has become an unofficial mascot for Washington Township, will be allowed to stay as long as she continues exhibiting normal behavior, according to Carol Tyler of Tyco Animal Control.

Tyler said the ultimate decision on whether or not Eileen can stay is in the hands of the state Division of Fish & Wildlife, who had intended to capture the bird after she was spotted back on the ground near the intersection of Pascack Road and Washington Avenue. When Tyler and state biologists went out to take Eileen, the turkey evaded them and flew to a high tree branch.

Division of Fish & Wildlife representative Larry Hajna said they will not remove Eileen as long as she does not pose a risk. The division would consult with local police before making a decision to take Eileen, Hajna said.

Eileen may have learned a lesson after, where she was treated for an infection in her remaining leg. Tyler said the turkey will be allowed to stay as long as she continues to behave normally, which includes roosting in trees to avoid humans and other predators.

"She's not hanging out at or the anymore," Tyler said.

Officials at the Raptor Trust had originally intended to bring Eileen to the McFaul Wildlife Center in Wyckoff, but decided to bring the bird back to her native environment because she seemed to be in good health.

When Eileen was still missing, McKinley Avenue resident Ruth Carrino and other residents pledged $2,700 for the bird's safe return. Carrino told Patch that the anonymous backer who offered the bulk of the reward will be donating the money to the Raptor Trust.

Council President Richard Hrbek suggested that the township put up "turkey crossing" signs around the Pascack Road and Washington Avenue intersection during a council meeting Tuesday night.

Carrino, who had previously fed Eileen, said she is no longer feeding the bird and hoped that no one else would interfere with her anymore.

"It would be nice to know she'll be allowed to peacefully live out her days here," Carrino said.

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