A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Albany’s turkeys: What can be done

Written December 16th, 2019 by Hasso Hering

In November, these wild turkeys were hanging out in the Takena neighborhood.

Albany’s roving flocks of turkeys have drawn the attention of the city council, and the question was: Can anything be done?

The answer was not much, except the main thing: Don’t feed the birds, even unintentionally by putting out seed for song birds or feed for outdoor pets.

Councilman Mike Sykes brought it up during Monday’s council work session. His point: The birds were getting to be a nuisance largely because they do what chickens do, only bigger. And they could prove aggressive, too.

There was a brief exchange between councilors and Marilyn Smith, the city’s public information officer who had posted a wild- turkey notice on cityofalbany.net around Thanksgiving.

The notice said the flocks of wild turkeys in neighborhoods around town were “celebrating the holiday by dining on pet food left outside, fallen seed from bird feeders, and grubs and other edibles under leaves and windfall fruit. They can be destructive to property and aggressive toward people.”

The city’s advice:”Feeding wild turkeys is not a good thing to do. Together with your neighbors you can get them to move along.”  The same advice as to feeding –don’t do it —  is what the city gives people in regards to other pests: nutria and rats.

ODFW in fact has put a three-page essay online on “coexisting with wild turkeys” here. Again, the main advice is to make sure there’s nothing edible around. The birds will move on if they find nothing to eat.

There’s also hazing, and ODFW says you can do it, but only if you get a free permit from the agency first. The approved methods include spraying the flock with a hose or a lawn sprinkler. But the agency warns the birds will come back if they find anything to eat.

Wild turkeys were introduced in Oregon as a game bird. You can hunt them, but only during the season. But like other firearms, shotguns are not allowed to be used within the city limits. That leaves bows and arrows for urban turkey hunts. That method is legal within the city, but only with the permission of the property owner and only if the dart or arrow does not go outside the property line.

The turkey discussion was about the only thing worth mentioning before the council went behind closed doors to deal with a couple of labor issues involving city employees. It was inconclusive, too, as nobody proposed or considered any city program to try to get rid of wild turkeys once and for all. (hh)

Wild turkeys browse a West Albany lawn one day in July.


8 responses to “Albany’s turkeys: What can be done”

  1. My Real Name John Hartman says:

    ODFW policy on hazing turkeys states explicitly: “Hazing permits are issued at no cost and make it legal for you to chase, scare, or disturb unwanted turkeys on your property.”

    One wonders…does the City of Albany dole out these free permits related to hazing of Pols?

  2. Jim Engel says:

    Ooooo…H.H., you were talking about “wild” turkeys & not the City Council. I think if a person was to try & use a hose to water down a council meeting to disperse them there would surely be charges. They’d come back anyway as there is “money” to eat!

  3. Mac says:

    Not hard to find someone with a bow that would be happy to take care of the problem if you’re the property owner.

    • Ben says:

      Absolutely. I’m one of those who would be more than happy to re-home those turkeys from a yard where they’re unwanted to my smoker.

  4. Don says:

    So now some people get to experience just a touch of what some agricultural producers do accept their animals are killed.

  5. J. Jacobson says:

    “A turkey is more occult and awful than all the angels and archangels. In so far as God has partly revealed to us an angelic world, he has partly told us what an angel means. But God has never told us what a turkey means. And if you go and stare at a live turkey for an hour or two, you will find by the end of it that the enigma has rather increased than diminished.”

    G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936)

  6. Rich Kellum says:

    JJ, I liked you better as Nicodemus, or was it Grey guy, or ms something, or John,
    I notice you use more than one in the same thread…

  7. Terry Hails says:

    I’ve walked up to within 10’ ft of them.
    Didn’t bother ‘em (or me) one bit.

    Ps: there’s a “lone” bird that stands on the sidewalk of Old Salem Rd. It’s a polite bird too…as it waits for cars to clear and looks both ways before crossing the street. :-)


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