Here's how to help wild turkeys stay wildWith the crop harvest nearly complete, wild turkeys are becoming a common sight in residential neighborhoods and around building sites, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
With the crop harvest nearly complete, wild turkeys are becoming a common sight in residential neighborhoods and around building sites, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
Wendy Krueger, a DNR area wildlife supervisor, said it’s important that people not feed wild turkeys. “We are getting increased calls from the public about wild turkeys in yards and within city limits,” she said. “When turkeys lose their natural fear of humans, they can become a nuisance. We don’t want that to happen.”
The restoration of wild turkeys in Minnesota has been a phenomenal success. Since 29 birds were released in southeastern Minnesota 40 years ago, the population has grown to more than 70,000 birds today. As wild turkey populations expand across the state, interactions with humans have become more common. However, problems occur when wild turkeys become desensitized to people and lose some of their wild instincts.
Adult wild turkeys, which can weigh 20 pounds or more, can quickly become unwelcomed guests, Krueger said. They can destroy flower beds and garden areas, and leave their droppings on patios and decks. They may roost in trees near homes and even on automobiles.
To reduce visits by turkeys, follow these techniques:
--Use elevated bird feeders.
--Clean up spilled seed; on farms clean up grain around bins.
--Temporarily discontinue feeding by removing all bird feeders.
--Make turkeys feel unwelcomed with lots of action and noise, chasing them with a broom or opening and closing a dark-colored umbrella.
--Keep a leashed dog in the area.
Compounding the problem is the release of pen-raised turkeys. It is illegal to release any turkey into the wild without a DNR permit. All turkeys purchased from game farms, farm stores or catalogs must be confined at all times. Pen-raised turkeys are not as wary as wild turkeys and can cause nuisance problems.
If a turkey does become aggressive and cannot be removed, contact the nearest DNR area wildlife office, which can be found at mndnr.govcontactwildlife_managers
“People have good intentions and want to help the birds, but in the long run it does just the opposite,” Krueger said.