A transplanted Southern Californian living in North Dakota Idaho, with some insights on life with deaf dogs, a gluten free spouse, and the occasional mischievous garden gnome. Thank you for visiting and I hope you enjoy.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Crying fowl

This gem of an article was posted in the Grand Forks Herald on Thursday, January 24 2013. John and I decided that the author really tried to work with the ridiculousness of the story topic.

I've cut and pasted the article below since the Herald often takes down their stories after a few days. But if you get a chance, check out the original posting because there is VERY compelling cinematography of the turkeys lurking around the neighborhood.

Fargo residents cry fowl over turkey infestation
By: Emily Welker, Forum Communications

FARGO – Fargo police are looking to catch a gigantic gang of fugitives making life in a north-side neighborhood a foul – or is that fowl? – experience.

A group of wild turkeys that may be as many as 80 birds strong – a rafter, as a group turkeys is known –has infested the area a few blocks south of Edgewood Golf Course in the northeast corner of the city, near Peterson Parkway and Birdie Street.

Yes, Birdie Street.

Whether they’re attracted to the street’s name, or more likely to the nearby river and one of the city’s biggest stretches of green space, the birds and their byproducts have worn out their welcome.
“We called, our neighbors called,” said Galen Heinle, who’s lived on Peterson Parkway for six years and said this is the worst the birds and their droppings have ever been. At one point, he said, the poop problem became so bad in his yard his wife had to hire someone to come in and clean it up. “It was getting to be unsanitary. I’m glad the city’s doing something,” Heinle said.

And, he said, while the birds haven’t shown any overt aggression, they’re obviously a little too comfortable where they are. “When I leave they won’t get out of the way of the car. It’s like, come on, let’s go,” he said.

Fargo police Lt. Joel Vettel said the police, with the help of the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, are starting a baiting and trapping process to attempt to net the birds and move them out to a more rural area. They’ll be feeding the birds on the nearby Cardinal Muench seminary property, and they’re asking people in the neighborhood to stop feeding the birds in the meantime.

The department sent letters to residents in the area last week, informing them of their plans to deal with the turkey takeover. Police also ask that potential onlookers remain respectful of private property and the wildlife themselves while the trapping is going on, though Vettel admits the birds haven’t been quite so mannerly.

In addition to leaving their waste all over people’s property, he said they are capable of property damage like knocking down and destroying yard items. “These are wild animals, and when they get into an urban environment, there are adaptations that are not good for the homeowner, and not good for the turkey,” he said.

Police said the trapping process, which should take about four weeks, probably won’t eradicate the area’s entire turkey population. They said the focus is not to move all the birds out of the city, just to bring the bird population down to a more manageable level for an urban environment. Police said they recently trapped and relocated much of a smaller flock in North Fargo near Hector International Airport using a similar technique. Doug Leier, a biologist with North Dakota’s Game and Fish Department, said there has been an urban turkey population in Fargo since he got to the city in 1997. And, he said, with few natural predators, the population continued to grow.

Despite the mess left by the roving rafter of gobblers, Heinle doesn’t want to quit them cold turkey. He is hoping the city won’t trap all the birds. On a moonlit night, he said, he can see a group of about fifty or so roosting in the trees in his yard, all night long, in degrees of minus 20 or more. He agrees that these are tough turkeys. And he’s developed a certain fondness for the feathered fugitives. “I feel sorry for them, in a way,” Heinle said. “You think you’re having a tough day? You don’t want to be a turkey.”

Alycia's comments:
1) Can you believe this was the big cover story for the "B" section of the paper? It also had a lovely picture of turkeys, but I couldn't get the picture to download properly, so you will have to check out the original posting.
2) John pointed out that turkey poop is probably really good fertilizer for the lawns, so the idea of "unsanitary" poop is obviously in the eye of the beholder.
3) Did the police really have to remind people not to feed the birds? I really don't think they are all congregating because somebody has a good bird feeder. I think there is an underlying reason why they are there, and in order to truly solve this dilemma, the people need to figure that out.
4) I like the comment that the turkeys are wild animals living in an urban environment. They apparently haven't evolved enough to be able to handle yart (i.e., yard art) without breaking it. Possibly the next generation of turkeys will be more sensitive to these issues.

1 comment:

Karen said...

A rafter of roaming turkeys depositing turkey do-do all over town and not respecting yard art? Goodness gracious. Sounds like some of my human neighbors, but alas, I don't think anyone will be netting them anytime soon.

I can imagine the do-do problem is pretty epic, though. We only have six hens here, and the amount of 'do' they distribute is mind-boggling. We try not to step in it, but it never fails, just before I get in my car I'll find I've failed to avoid a pile, lol.

We have turkeys here in abundance too, but they don't come near the house. Maybe because our chickens or ferocious Shih Tzus scare em?