Wild turkeys causing trouble in Willoughby, residents say

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WILLOUGHBY, Ohio -- Gobblers gone wild! Some testy turkeys have been reported roaming the Chagrin River Park in Willoughby and fanning out into nearby neighborhoods along Reeves Rd.

“I’ve seen them chase a few people and they’ve made crossing streets difficult,” said Dan Cameron, “I actually saw someone honking at them the other day, and they ran up on the car and started pecking at the tire and fender on the car.”

Wild turkeys went extinct in Ohio back in the early 1900s, but according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife they were reintroduced in the 1950s and have been thriving in recent years.

“It was like the turkey apocalypse,” said Cameron after waking up and seeing 17 in his yard.

Another homeowner, Noel Cagnina found nearly 40 in front of her home.

In fact she says, although they roost in the Metropark at least a handful strut over to her house every day to dine on her property because of her trees.

“Apparently they like the Pin Oaks which is a smaller acorn,” said Cagnina.

The turkeys usually keep their place in the pecking order, and avoid humans, but they are more active and potentially aggressive right now because of the time of year.

Breeding season just peaked in April.  Nesting and hatching season peaks May through June.

Males in particular can become defensive if a human gets too close to a female hen or the nest.

“They’re kind souls, they just get a bad rap,” said Cagnina.

Wildlife experts say humans have to do their part and can prevent ruffling any feathers by following a few simple tips:

  • Never feed a wild turkey which can make them too comfortable with people and potentially aggressive
  • Keep bird feeders off the ground and clean
  • Make loud noises or spray to stop an aggressive turkey

The turkey population is doing so well they are now legally hunted in the state. For more information on licensing and turkey hunting season dates contact the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife by clicking here.

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