The first time you find wild turkeys in your yard, you may be excited at the little piece of nature that’s come to visit your home. When they make a habit of it though, you eventually get a firsthand look at how destructive a rafter of turkeys can be. When half a dozen or more of these 20-pound wild birds show up every morning, lawns can get scratched to bits and bird feeders raided. As for the mess they make, the less said the better.
Ideally, wild turkeys would learn to go around your property without too much effort on your part. Most people are reluctant to take direct action against turkeys, since these are large animals that are hard to manage and it may be illegal to control them, depending on your local laws. Fortunately, several options are open to property owners who would like to gently discourage wild turkeys to leave and go visit someone else for a change.
Noises and Other Disturbances
Wild turkeys have stressful lives. As big as they are, they are routinely preyed upon by other wild animals. As a result of sharing space with hawks, raccoons and the occasional badger, turkeys have developed an instinctive avoidance of loud noises. You can take advantage of this aversion by making some kind of noisemaker that will be loud enough to spook the birds from across the lawn. Try dropping a dozen or so pennies into a coffee can and sealing it up. When you hear the distinctive warbling of hungry turkeys outside, stand where they can see you and shake the can until they trot away for the day.
This approach works well enough if you get up early every morning and don’t mind patrolling the yard in your robe, violently shaking an old can like you’re angry at it. A more graceful solution, however, could be Nite Guard Repellent Tape. This is a durable flash tape that makes loud crackling noises and emits flashes of bright light that drive the turkeys off when you aren’t there.
Scarecrows were originally adopted to scare off pest birds, such as crows and starlings. Many of these birds refuse to enter a field when they think a human is present, and turkeys are no exception. If you have the land for it, a simple shirt and pants combination, stuffed with straw and topped with a hat, should spook the turkeys enough to keep them away from your garden. It also adds a nice rustic touch between turkey visits.If a traditional scarecrow isn’t for you, or if you want to go with something more natural-looking, consider a scare-wild-predator. Wild turkeys are routinely attacked by coyotes over most of their range, and they tend not to be too picky about avoiding half-similar shapes. Anything you have that looks like a hungry coyote in the bushes should be enough to send the visiting turkeys on their way.
Get a Dog
Stuffed coyotes have their charm, but nothing scares off a wild turkey quite as enthusiastically as a loud territorial dog. Leashing your dog to a tree outside or just turning it loose to run the perimeter of your property in the morning is an excellent way to never see another turkey near your land. All it takes for most turkeys is a single encounter with an angry, bristling and loudly barking dog to leave and not come back. If your dog is off the leash, it is probably a good idea to stay somewhere close by it, if only to prevent the dog making physical contact with a turkey and either hurting it or getting hurt itself.
Water the Turkeys
Turkeys are fairly easy to startle, and they can be sent skittering back by sudden jets of water. Almost any source of water will do fine for spooking turkeys. Sprinklers, hoses and even squirt guns have been known to work on whole groups of turkeys. This tactic is especially effective when it’s sudden and comes from an unexpected direction. Ideally, the splash should hit the ground close to, but not directly on, the largest tom in the group. Once he starts running, the others almost always follow in seconds.
All of these methods have their upside, and none of them is likely to cause any physical harm to the turkeys. Knowing what sets turkeys off without hurting them, read our 5 humane tips to deter wild turkeys, or visit the Humane Society for an excellent resource on dealing with wild turkeys without cruelty.
Nite Guard Repellent Tape
You can also gear up for your next turkey encounter with a strip of Nite Guard Repellent Tape. Just a few strips of this tape could settle your turkey problem, as well as your pigeon issue, your crow dilemma and the ever-present magpie conundrum. Our online support, and the knowledgeable customer service reps in our office, can help you out with any questions you have about how to install and use Nite Guard Repellent Tape on your property. Give us a call today at 1-800-328-6647 for more information, to place an order or to vent about what the turkeys have done to your yard this time.