Wild Turkeys Have Resided In New York State and City Before They Existed, And It Believed They Were Here Longer Than Native Americans
Many Staten Islanders, particularly those that clamor the most loudly agains the wild turkeys, do not realize that the turkeys were intentionally reintroduced into New York City a century after they became extinct here due to overharvesting of their eggs and hunting. Wild turkeys provide many hidden benefits for homeowners and other residents, including keeping populations of certain bug pests in check, including ticks and other insects that bother humans.
This discussion with John DiLeonardo of Humane Long Island, touches on some of the other options that can be used to coexist with, and possibly control the behavior of, the wild turkey population.
According to John, along with many in the scientific community, it is a far better idea from a humane perspective, as well as an economic or money-saving perspective, to learn to coexist with the turkeys. Turkeys are indigenous to this area, and they were brought back into New York State and New York City in the mid-1950s by the Department of Environmental Conservation. One of the easiest ways to do this, if your are a homeowner or resident who doesn’t want them on your property, is to simply scare them away from where they aren’t wanted. This can be done with a hose, a sprinkler system, or even an umbrella that you open and close.
It is also important that, if you don’t want them nesting on your property, that you do not feed them. Allow them to forage as they normally do, and then they won’t have a special reason to make their nest on your property. There are also some residents who don’t mind them making a nest by their house. They are beautiful, intelligent, friendly, and curious birds, who will come and say hello to you if they consider you their friend, and they may even introduce you to their babies.
For those residents who want to see the turkeys up close, but not from their front yard, they can visit one of the number of local sanctuaries in Upstate New York and elsewhere to visit with and possibly even feed the turkeys. Specifically, some of the turkeys who are from Staten Island were recently relocated to the And-Hof Animal Sanctuary in the Catskills, and can be visited there.
An interesting fact is that Benjamin Franklin wanted the wild turkey to be America’s bird, before the Bald Eagle was chosen. He believed they were a more respectable bird than the Bald Eagle, having been native to America.
It really is not that difficult to get along with other beings, including the wild turkeys. They have been on Staten Island for longer than humans have, including the tribal peoples in the Americas. So, just as we must learn to get along with other humans, we can all learn to get along with our animal brothers and sisters.