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they don't recognize their own image
so will respond to a reflection as they would an intruding turkey,
such as a shiny car

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Wild Turkey in a Back Yard

Wild Turkey in a Back Yard - © HWC
Wild Turkey in a Back Yard

Distribution of Wild Turkey

The Eastern Wild Turkey was the species first encountered in the wild by the Puritans. Range covers the entire eastern half of the United States; extending also into South Eastern Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, and the Maritime Provinces in Canada. They number from 5.1 to 5.3 million birds. They were first named forest turkey in 1817, and can grow up to 4 feet tall. The upper tail coverts are tipped with chestnut brown. The Eastern Wild Turkey is heavily hunted in the Eastern USA and is the most hunted Wild Turkey subspecies.

The wild turkey is a large ground-dwelling bird that is 36-44 inches in length. It has a large, fan-shaped tail; long, stocky pink or gray legs; short, rounded wings; a bare head and neck and a small, down curving bill. The wild turkey has iridescent bronze body feathers and black and white bars on its wings. The male wild turkey has a tuft of feathers called a beard on his chest and an upwardly curving spur on his lower legs. His breast feathers are tipped with black and he has a bluish-gray neck and a red wattle (a fleshy lobe of skin that hangs from the neck or chin.) The male's bare head and neck is red, blue or white depending on the season! The female's breast feathers are tipped with brown, white or gray. She doesn't have spurs and she usually doesn't have a beard. she has a gray head and a feathered neck. Males are usually larger than females. In the east, the tip of the turkey's tail is brown. In the Southwest the tail tip is white. The wild turkey's call is a gobble!

Tracks
Eastern Wild Turkey
Turkeys Perched on a Roof
Turkeys Perched on a Roof

In suburban areas, turkeys not subject to hunting pressure may appear tame and may be more prone to inflict damage to golf courses, gardens, and lawns. Sometimes during the spring breeding season, turkeys in suburban areas are reported pecking at cars, and chasing or otherwise intimidating people. Large, shiny objects such as cars or windows may prompt aggressive behavior by males during the breeding season.

Because wild turkeys have a "pecking order", they may respond aggressively to reflections or images of turkeys. Turkeys are probably not self-aware and do not recognize their own image, so will respond to a reflection as they would an intruding turkey. Human-habituated wild turkeys have been known to peck at windows, automobile mirrors, or reflections in shiny surfaces (such as polished car doors). Since the stimulus to drive away or subjugate the "intruder" is a strong one, and since the reflection does not disappear or cower when the turkey confronts it, the bird will often continually display towards or attack the reflection until changing light conditions cause it to vanish. The turkey will often remember the "intruder" and return to the same spot and continue the behavior even if repeatedly chased off.

The reflectivity of the window, vehicle, or other shiny object must be changed or covered up in some fashion in order to stop the turkey from pecking at it. Aggressive dogs on a long leash can be effective in keeping turkeys away from a particular spot. In fenced areas, such as some parking lots, dogs may be allowed to roam free and chase away turkeys at will.

Turkeys can be very persistent, and efforts to control them must be just as persistent. The good news is that, unlike other species such as deer or raccoon, turkeys are not active at night. This makes it easier to confirm the source of damage and to develop solutions to reduce problems.

The birds, if you’ve seen them on the side of the highway or maybe walking down an urban street, can be three or four feet tall and weigh up to 20 pounds. They can be very aggressive – especially if a person is not. And if you feed them, well, expect them to literally follow you.

To evict this pecking menace from your home, just give one of our experts a call !

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