Let's Talk Turkey!

With the increasing number of turkeys roaming the streets of the Village, questions are being raised about what can be done to deter these birds from overstaying their welcome.  Here is some background information on turkeys in the Kootenays:


· In Canada wild turkeys are only native to Southern Ontario. Populations in British Columbia are all introduced.

· In the Kootenays, turkeys were introduced to the Creston area in the 1960s and subsequently expanded throughout the region.

· Kootenay turkey populations have fluctuated over time but appear to have increased over the past 5 years.


· There are ecological concerns with turkey populations since they can predate on species at risk (e.g., snakes), compete for habitat with native grouse, and     cause grouse nest failure through egg dumping.

· Turkeys can cause property damage, result in noise complaints, and be aggressive towards people.

· Turkeys can affect agriculturists by eating and fouling domestic animal feed, gardens, and crops. They also spread noxious weeds.


· Hunting seasons in the Kootenays have been liberalised over time as populations have increased.

· Provincial policy does not allow translocation of non-native species such as turkeys.

· Turkey conflicts are most often dealt with by providing the public with information about how to prevent and deal with conflicts.

(Source: Fish and Wildlife, Kootenay Region November 2016)


Preventing Conflicts with Wild Turkeys: Basic Turkey Do's & Don'ts! 

Do not feed wild turkeys

Keep the wild in wildlife! Never deliberately feed wild turkeys to attract them to your property or to keep them around. Turkeys can survive very well on natural foods and do not need handouts from people. Turkeys which become accustomed to humans and human-associated foods are likely to lose their fear of people and cause problems. The birds are then placed in jeopardy when you or your neighbors become afraid of them or seek to stop any damage they may cause.

Do remove or secure all potential sources of food

Don't tempt or attract wild turkeys by allowing them to feed on seeds which have spilled from your bird feeders. If these seeds are accessible to turkeys, they will readily feed upon them. This food source will have the same effect as if you deliberately fed them. Clean up spilled bird seed each day. Excess seed will attract other animals, which sometimes become a nuisance. Turkeys and other animals feeding on the seed may excrete in the seed pile and spread disease to others.

Do not allow turkeys to become habituated to people

Wild turkeys which become conditioned to human foods, and habituated to people, are likely to cause damage or to attempt to dominate people. Once this behavior is established, it can be very difficult or impossible to change. Be sure to be bold around turkeys - especially when they first show up in an area - and encourage others in the neighborhood to do the same. The best defense against aggressive or persistent turkeys is to prevent the birds from becoming habituated in the first place by being bold to them. Everyone in the neighborhood must do the same; it will be ineffective if you do so only on your property. Each and every turkey must view all humans as dominant in the pecking order and respond to them as superiors rather than subjects. Habituated turkeys may attempt to dominate or attack people that the birds view as subordinates. Attempt to drive off or deter these aggressive birds with bold action by forcefully fending them off with brooms or other non-injurious implements.