Seeing wild turkeys is no longer all that unusual in Oregon cities, but it’s still a reason to come out of the house and watch, or to stop the car and take a picture.
The adults and chicks in this little flock made their way through the Takena Street neighborhood in west Albany on Friday night. They seemed to be just passing through and not causing anybody any grief.
But elsewhere, wild turkeys have caused consternation in residential areas in recent years. You can quickly find online reports of turkey trouble from Lebanon, Pilot Rock, Bandon, and Medford. People complained that the birds were munching the plants in backyard gardens and leaving piles of droppings. In some cases, ODFW was moved to issue hunting tags to the local police so they could try to reduce the size of the flocks.
You wouldn’t know it from the way they make themselves at home, but turkeys are not native to Oregon. They were introduced in two waves, in 1961 and 1975, to give hunters something to shoot — during designated seasons, of course, and never inside cities.
Last September, a couple of turkeys surprised me as I rode the bike through Eads Park in the east Willamette neighborhood. At the time the parks department told me of turkey reports from several other parks where the habitat suits them. Now they seem to have moved out of the parks and into areas where people live. (hh)