Police turn to DNR for advice to rid the town of turkeys

    What started as an amusing site has now turned hazardous.
    Reports of wild turkeys roaming throughout Clear Lake, primarily in the Sunset School area adjacent to Highway 18 and along Main Avenue, began late last year.  Sightings were made infrequently and typically

reported to the newspaper, along with an accompanying photo.  But now the sightings are almost daily and have turned from comical to dangerous, says Clear Lake Police Chief Greg Peterson.
    Peterson said initially his department was not receiving calls about turkeys, but as the weeks have passed calls are increasing, along with the brashness of turkeys.  It has not become uncommon for turkeys to attack vehicles or become territorial.  Their presence along Highway 18 has also created concern for public safety, as traffic could be disrupted, Peterson added.
    “We have not undertaken any kind of survey or study to determine if anyone is feeding the turkeys, however I would speculate that some people are,” said Peterson.  “Clear Lake does not have an ordinance prohibiting the feeding of wildlife in town; I wish we did.”
    Peterson said he contacted the Iowa Department of Natural Resources for advice on how to push the turkeys back to the rural areas where they apparently came from.
    Local DNR Officer Ben Bergman noted turkeys in an urban setting can become pests as they scratch and forage in flower and vegetable gardens, leave droppings on patios and decks, and roost on cars or roof tops.
    “We are nearing the time where the Tom (male) turkey may be getting territorial and may be seeing their reflection in windows and cars-- wanting to charge/attack,” he added. 
    Bergman supplied information from the DNR which may help to remove turkeys from the community.  Among the best advice is removing any food sources the turkeys have found.
    “The turkeys will not stick around if there is not food available.  If the turkeys are foraging under bird feeders, then discontinue bird feeding and harass turkeys out of the area.  You can resume bird feeding when the turkeys have been gone for awhile, said Maury Muhm, of the DNR. “Removal of the food, combined with harassment is the most effective way to get turkeys off your property.”
    Those seeing turkeys in town are asked to contact Biologist Greg Hanson with the DNR in Clear Lake at 357-3517, rather than the police department.


Let’s talk turkey:

Here are some things the DNR suggests to discourage wild turkeys from using your property:
•Do not feed turkeys.
•Any time you see turkeys on your property harass them away.  Do not let them become accustomed
    to using your property.  Chase them with a broom, open umbrella, clang pots and pans together.
•To discourage an aggressive turkey, charge at him with a broom, open umbrella, etc. and make a lot
    of noise.  Spraying the turkeys with a water - Read More Via e-Edition

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