Turkey tries to duck out at State Capitol

  • Updated: November 18, 2011 - 8:50 PM

In the Minnesota Capitol's august governor's reception room, Turkey Ted tried to make an escape.

Ted, one of a flock of 30 presidential turkeys, visited the Capitol Friday before a possible trip to the White House for a pardon from President Obama next week.

Perhaps not knowing his potentially cushy fate, the bird bolted from his cage before Minnesota's annual turkey ceremony. As Gov. Mark Dayton and U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar looked on, the turkey was soon repenned and kept calm by Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson. Frederickson was quickly dubbed the "Turkey Whisperer."

Ted and his brethren have been specially trained for a trip to the White House. Willmar high school students exposed the turkeys to light, sound and music -- although not specifically "Hail to the Chief" -- in advance to deal with his coming role.

The bird showed off good manners in short order. Once placed upon a table, he calmly waited as Dayton, Klobuchar and others petted him and press cameras clicked. Ted made no comment to the assembled media.

Two of the best-behaved birds -- although not necessarily Ted -- will be driven to the White House next week. Once pardoned, the selected turkeys will live out the rest of their days at Mount Vernon.

The remainder of the presidential flock will be processed and donated to a local food shelf.

RACHEL E. STASSEN-BERGER

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