Wild turkeys flock to Lakeshore, town offers tips to ward them off

·2 min read

Wild turkeys are running amok in Lakeshore, and the mayor is hearing about it from residents.

The town sent out a news release Tuesday offering tips to residents looking to ward off the turkeys, as Lakeshore Mayor Tom Bain said they can cause traffic issues and damage homes.

A flock of about six were spotted in Belle River and another 15 to 20 in the Woodslee area, Bain estimated.

"In fact just last night, had them here at my office in Belle River tapping on the window so there is a definite problem with the turkeys here in town and we are working to get them back into the rural areas," Bain said.

"It hasn't been a problem until lately."

The wild turkeys seem to be wandering out of the rural area, he said, perhaps looking for food.

In total, Bain said he's received about 11 complaints from residents about the wild turkeys.

"[They've] been destructive in some areas where they're perching on roofs and pulling the eavestroughs right off of the buildings and stuff," he said.

Wave arms, yell to scare them off

The best way to discourage the turkeys from taking up residence is to not feed them or to remove sources of food, Bain said. In the town's news release, it said the birds typically eat berries, seeds, plants, insects and frogs or snakes.

Residents should remove unsecured garbage or bird feeders.

Another strategy is to scare them off. Though wild turkeys are large, the town said they are usually timid and scare easily.

During mating season, February to May, male turkeys will look for females and go into neighbourhoods. If they see a reflective surface, they may think it's another male and become aggressive. Residents are encouraged to scare the turkey and cover up the surface.

"It's easy to scare turkeys away by making noises (try waving your arms and yelling or blowing a whistle), popping open an umbrella, or dousing the turkey with water from a hose or squirt gun. A leashed dog may also be effective in scaring a turkey away," the town said.

To keep the turkeys from roosting or gathering on a deck or roof, the town said scaring them helps or placing balloons, sparkle tape or anti-perching devices, such as a wire installation, will prevent them from settling down.

The town said hunting is permitted but only in specific areas and during hunting season.