Photo: Genevieve Reilly / Hearst Connecticut Media
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Joan Poster plants a kiss on Ringo, one of four turkeys rescued from an Arkansas turkey drop. Susie Coston, from Farm Sanctuary, delivered two of those turkeys to Poster’s farm in Fairfield on Wednesday.
Photo: Genevieve Reilly / Hearst Connecticut Media
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Ringo, a rescued turkey, checks out his new digs at the Poster family's farm in Southport. Fairfield,CT. 11/22/17
Photo: Genevieve Reilly / Hearst Connecticut Media
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John, in front, and Ringo, are rescue turkeys who made themselves at home Wednesday at the Southport farm owned by veterinarian Joan Poster. The turkeys were part of a turkey drop in Arkansas. Fairfield,CT. John, in front, and Ringo, are rescue turkeys who made themselves at home Wednesday at the Southport farm owned by veterinarian Joan Poster. The turkeys were part of a turkey drop in Arkansas. Fairfield,CT. 11/22/17
Photo: Genevieve Reilly / Hearst Connecticut Media
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Ringo, a rescued turkey, starts to strut his stuff at a Southport farm Wednesday. Fairfield,CT. 11/22/17
Photo: Genevieve Reilly / Hearst Connecticut Media
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Ringo, left, and John, two turkeys rescued after an Arkansas turkey drop, make themselves at home at a Southport farm. Fairfield,CT. 11/24/17

FAIRFIELD — Two turkeys arrived Wednesday afternoon at Joan Poster’s home, but they weren’t there to grace Poster’s Thanksgiving table.

Poster, a well-known local veterinarian, is a vegetarian, and the two turkeys — John and Ringo — were part of a quartet of injured birds rescued from Yellville, Arkansas’ annual and infamous turkey drop.

The turkeys were injured during the October event and found bleeding on the pavement. Some of the turkeys are dropped from a plane, while others were tossed from the top of the Marion County Courthouse.

John, Ringo, George and Paul were rescued by Farm Sanctuary and brought to the group’s shelter in upstate New York. George and Paul are still recovering from their injuries.

Poster said she had never heard of the turkey drop. “It’s a crazy world,” she said, as John and Ringo got acclimated to their new home at Poster’s Southport farm. “I’ve always had turkeys. I love them.”

There are about 100 animals at the 17-acre farm, Poster said, if you count the chickens. There are 30 rabbits, goats, pigs, Clydesdale horses, a cow, some roosters and a peacock. And now, two turkeys.

The two were delivered by Susie Coston, from Farm Sanctuary. She said PETA had a group of activists on the ground during the turkey drop and were able to convince the people who captured them to turn them over.

“They look very happy,” Coston said. “These two weren’t as badly injured.”

Ringo, she said, was a Black Special, while John appeared to be a Narragansett, both of which are heritage breeds, and not wild turkeys. Heritage breeds, she said, are slower to grow, and don’t get as big as the industrial broad-breasted turkeys most are familiar with.

Poster said turkeys live about five or six years, usually getting too big for their legs.

This is not the first time Poster has offered shelter to rescued turkeys. In 2010, she welcomed Mordecai and Fiona, two Bourbon reds, who came from an organic farm. The Farm Sanctuary each year runs an Adopt a Turkey program, and its Turkey Express brings the rescued birds to their new homes. Poster has been adopting rescued turkeys since 1996.

While wild turkeys can fly, it is usually just from tree to tree. Domesticated turkeys can only fly short distances.

The turkey drop is held the same weekend as the Yellville Chamber of Commerce’s Turkey Trot, a festival to highlight the state’s spot as one of the country’s top turkey-producing states. Activities include a road race, music, dancing and a pageant. According to an Associated Press story, the chamber stopped the turkey drop in 1989, but the tradition was continued by local pilots. Dropping the turkeys from a plane is apparently not in violation of FAA rules, so long as they don’t cause damage to people or property.

Photo: Wallace Kirkland/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
Image 1 of 8 | 1953 Yellville, Arkansas Turkey Trot

Turkey toss starts as first bird is tossed from low flying plane in Yellville, Arkansas in 1952.

Photo: Wallace Kirkland/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
Image 2 of 8 | 1953 Yellville, Arkansas Turkey Trot

Children watching a boy climbing a tree to grab turkey which landed in branches in Yellville, Arkansas in 1952.

Photo: Wallace Kirkland/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
Image 3 of 8 | 1953 Yellville, Arkansas Turkey Trot

Up the elm tree after fast climb a farmer snares a bird that had found itself a handy roost in Yellville, Arkansas in 1952.

Photo: Wallace Kirkland/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
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Miss drumstick contest, putting best drumstick forward Miss Arkansas Auto Auction Miss Gold Nugget Feed, 21 more vie for title given solely on leg appeal in Yellville, Arkansas in 1952.

Photo: Wallace Kirkland/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
Image 5 of 8 | 1953 Yellville, Arkansas Turkey Trot

Peggy Mears winner of the Miss Drumstick contest in Yellville, Arkansas in 1952.

Photo: Wallace Kirkland/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
Image 6 of 8 | 1953 Yellville, Arkansas Turkey Trot

The Turkey calling Contest in Yellville, Arkansas in 1952.

Photo: Wallace Kirkland/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
Image 7 of 8 | 1953 Yellville, Arkansas Turkey Trot

A boy crossing the square toting a turkey he caught in the kids' scramble in Yellville, Arkansas in 1952.

Photo: Wallace Kirkland/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
Image 8 of 8 | 1953 Yellville, Arkansas Turkey Trot

Winning legs of Peggy Mears, of the Miss Drumstick contest are shown from behind a cutout in Yellville, Arkansas in 1952.

A story on the Baxter Bulletin advancing the Turkey Trot said, “The weather forecast in Yellville this weekend is sunny with a chance of falling turkeys.” The Bulletin wrote that the turkeys, “which usually flutter to the ground are chased down and claimed by festival attendees.”

It has been said that the famous “WKRP in Cincinnati” Thanksgiving episode in 1978, where live turkeys were dropped from a helicopter, may have been inspired in part by the turkey drop in Yellville.

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