This is a wild turkey outside my bedroom window. Also, it turned out, an opportunity for scientific advancement.
I was startled by the nearby gobble while folding laundry recently. And, seized with that growing urge to record and rewind any remotely interesting thing that happens, I huddled at the windowsill and held my phone aloft.
Afterward, the turkey began strutting off down the alley, and I was a bit forlorn to see him go. I moved to stand, and then I unwittingly stumbled upon yet another feature on my iPhone 4S. I pushed play on my little video, serenading my friend with his own gobble from moments before.
He froze, his neck extending and lifting his prehistoric head three inches higher. I played it again and he turned round, leering left and right and flaring his feathers. He’d gobble, I’d gobble, and then repeat. He turned his steps toward my window.
That’s when I remembered the recent hilarity on Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! involving the invention of a Japanese device that stops humans from speaking. Basically researchers discovered that we involuntarily stop talking when we hear our own speech on a very slightly—0.2 seconds—delayed playback. The device, called a “silence gun” or “cell jammer” could be useful in venues where humans are talking but shouldn’t be.
So the turkey’s near my window, his shiny, beady eyes a bit expectant with each iPhone gobble. And I tighten the sash on my bathrobe and think Now here, my friend, is your Jane Goodall moment. So the next time the turkey gobbles, I attempt to jam him, mid-gobble, with the playback of his own voice.
The editors of Nature magazine say I can’t disclose my findings here. Suffice to say, it could be huge.
Even Siri got excited, but you know her. Ever the taskmaster.
“Ok. Can we get back to work now?” she sighed.
“Yeah, alright,” I replied and requested a favorite playlist. I paired up some socks. “But keep ordering me around and watch what happens.”