msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 3/15/2007 4:17:23 PM ET 2007-03-15T20:17:23

A church was planning a moment of silence Sunday for what the pastor called a model member of his congregation: a wild turkey.

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The turkey, which died last week after being hit by a car under questionable circumstances, regularly attended Sunday services and greeted people as they arrived, said the Rev. James Huff, pastor of Lambs United Methodist Church in St. Clair County.

"He would kind of wait for me to come in," Huff told the Times Herald of Port Huron. "He knew when I got there service was about to begin, and then he would sit on one lady's car until we were done."

The bird had been hanging around since late last year and quickly became known for its fearless attitude. Some people said it showed up every morning at the community's bus stop and chased children. Others enjoyed watching the bird strut down the street, trying to impress female turkeys.

"We've got so many pictures of it," said Douglas Bishop, the church's music director. "It was like our mascot."

But the turkey's parking lot patrols were no-nonsense affairs, Huff told the Times Herald. The bird assured everyone was inside the church when the service started, he said.

"They were in the church or in their cars going home," Huff said. "There was no lollygagging in the parking lot."

Accidentally on purpose?
The turkey's occasional aggressiveness and road-blocking shenanigans meant he wasn't universally loved.

A witness to the incident intimated that the death might not have been accidental, the Times Herald reported.

The bird was showing off Friday morning when he was struck by a local resident, said Laura Thibodeau of Lambs, whose husband sometimes fed the turkey.

"I'll just say there were no brake lights or anything," she said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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