The vast majority of the time when wild turkeys wander somewhere unwanted, it’s simply because they’re looking for food or a mate. Killing turkeys is inhumane and does not solve the root problem, as more turkeys will just take their place. If you have conflicts with unwanted wild turkeys, try these effective and humane ways to solve the issue.
Stop the Buffet
If wild turkeys are being fed by people, whether intentionally or unintentionally, of course they’ll never want to leave! Make sure you do not have any unsecured garbage or spilled bird seed that the turkeys might be enjoying.
(Humane) Scare Tactics
Turkeys will be scared by noises, popping an umbrella, blowing a whistle, tossing a tennis ball, or being squirted with a squirt gun or gentle hose. Keep in mind that wild turkeys respect dominance, so it is important that you establish yourself as the dominant party. Make sure everyone in your family, including children and the elderly, exhibit dominance over the turkey.
Sometimes during mating season (February – May), male turkeys may be in your neighborhood on the lookout for a female mate. They may be aggressive to reflective surfaces (like windows and mirrors) thinking another male turkey is out to steal their lady. If you encounter this, simply haze the turkey away using the methods described above, and cover the reflective surface if possible.
If you find a turkey roosting on your roof or deck, don’t worry! Turkeys are easy to scare away and you can evict them by making loud noises or gently spraying water on them.
If you find this problem repeating itself, you may want to use a motion-activated device (like the Scarecrow Motion Activated Sprinkler or an anti-perching device (like Birdwire).
Protect your Garden
Typically, garden damage is not caused by turkeys, but by other wild animals (like raccoons, groundhogs, foxes, deer, or squirrels). If you are confident your garden issue is with a wild turkey, try a motion-activated device (like the Scarecrow Motion Activated Sprinkler) or use a hardware cloth to protect plants and vegetables. Please do not use netting as that can entrap birds and other animals.
Please note, Humane Action Pittsburgh (HAP) is not a wildlife rescue and is unable to address concerns or assist with wildlife emergencies. Please utilize the resources on our website to find the appropriate organization to contact. Submissions to HAP through our contact form or email will not be able to be addressed.