These “terrorist turkeys” were part of the gang that attacked Elana Lerner.

A 75 year-old woman battles with a pack of wild “terrorist” turkeys in a “turkey turf war,” a familiar sight to all in West Bloomfield.

Ever watch Animal Fight Night (AFN) on the National Geographic cable network Nat Geo Wild? It features fascinating species in the animal kingdom — everything from bugs to baboons, fish to fowl — going toe to toe, tusk to tusk, horn to horn, or whatever extremity the evolutionary process provided the featured animals on each episode’s fight card.
Animal Fight Night is truly the survival of the fittest and is far more educational than the fights you see on Bravo’s The Real Housewives of New Jersey, which is survival of the stupidest.

Well, I have exciting news that will have the producers of AFN packing their camera gear and hustling to West Bloomfield to chronicle arguably their most intriguing battle to date — an interspecies free-for-all featuring two wild turkeys vs. 75-year old Elana Lerner of West Bloomfield!

A few weeks ago, Elana was on a nature walk near 14 Mile and Drake when she happened upon a small gang of gobblers and what ensued was a turkey turf war.

Elana planned on innocently strolling past the birds, but the feathered fowl would have none of it. Two of the male birds lunged toward her. Startled, she froze in fear and attempted to swat the turkeys away with her cell phone, but to no avail. That’s when she chose a different tactic you might call “Turkey Whispering.” It was more like a turkey conversation.

Elana told me she confronted the birds saying: “OK, who will be stronger. You or me?!” It turned out to be the turkeys. Two passing cars witnessed the bird vs. human altercation and came to Elana’s aid, stopping and distracting the turkeys until they retreated.

Lessoned learned: Never negotiate with terrorist turkeys. Elana was left bruised and battered but thankfully not bloodied by the encounter.

It turns out Elana is a photography enthusiast and, even while caught in the middle of her turkey trauma, she had the wherewithal to snap pictures documenting the encounter on her iPhone. Her only regret was not hitting the video button to capture live-action footage.

Unfortunately, while on another walk a few days later, Elana sustained further injuries when she lost another fight — this time with a broken piece of sidewalk. She fell and suffered a broken elbow that required a visit to the emergency room. Thankfully, she avoided surgery, but not a sling that will be with her well into June.

While on the mend, Elana couldn’t resist returning to the scene of the crime. She drove back and, sure enough, the turkeys lay in wait. From the safe confines of her car, she rolled her window down and yelled to the turkeys: “Hi, what are you going to do to me now?” The turkeys actually ran toward the car! Elana swears they recognized her voice.

Elana moved here from Israel 19 years ago. She never could’ve predicted she would survive the Gulf War but lose a fight to a couple of wild turkeys.

I’m no stranger to these turkeys. I’ve seen them grazing in our neighborhood, and last year I witnessed a lone, rogue turkey holding up traffic in all directions while it boldly stood in the middle of the intersection at Maple and Middlebelt.

In the meantime, after hearing Elana’s story I think I’ve come up with a foolproof way to stave off a wild turkey encounter. I would just stare that bird down and say: “Hey, you, I understand you taste like chicken.”

Alan Muskovitz is a writer, voice-over/acting talent, speaker and emcee. Visit his website at