Mourners pay tribute to Whittaker the Ypsilanti turkey after beloved bird struck by car


YPSILANTI TOWNSHIP, MI – A crowd of mourners gathered at the corner of Whittaker and Textile roads Thursday in Ypsilanti to honor Whittaker the Ypsilanti turkey.

The popular and fearless turkey was hit by a passing car on Monday, July 3 and was put down the following day by the Humane Society of Huron Valley.

About 50 of Whittaker’s fans paid tribute to the beloved bird at the Ypsilanti Township Civic Center, where they share their memories of Whittaker before moving down the road to his favorite intersection.

People gathered around an already established memorial for the turkey at the busy intersection where he earned his notoriety.

As passersby honked and cheered, a small hole was dug in the ground and the ashes of Whittaker were placed there.

“Something as simple as a wild turkey brought us together,” said Melissa Palmquist. “It doesn’t have to be something monumental that brings us together, but we do need something.”

Around $500 in donations were made to the Humane Society of Huron Valley, according to Wendy Welch.

Welch also mentioned that there will be a memorial brick placed at the Humane Society that will read “Whittaker Ypsi turkey, media celeb, loved and adored, fly high Whitt, no left turn.”

“You can see the community came together around him, and tonight was a way to say goodbye,” said Kim Gray, founder of the Whittaker the Rogue Ypsi Turkey Facebook page.

“He was well loved,” said Gray. 

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