In this week’s Xpress, Outdoors writer Jeff Ashton notes that the number of turkeys roaming north Asheville neighborhoods appears to be increasing. But growing gobblers can become a nuisance. And without natural predators stalking the birds, there’s nothing stopping them. What’s the future of the urban turkey?
From Ashton’s column:
Recently, I’ve been talking about turkeys with people who walk past the house where I’m working. I’ve had similar conversations with folks who live in other parts of Asheville, and I’ve googled “turkeys in neighborhoods” to see just what sort of phenomenon we’re dealing with here. Almost without exception, I’m hearing how little groups of four or five turkeys began showing up in neighborhoods around town about five years ago. At first, people found it “charming” and “delightful” to see the big, stately birds pecking their way across backyards. But that attitude has changed as wandering flocks of 50 or more birds are now damaging landscape plants and leaving droppings everywhere. Suddenly those big birds don’t seem so charming.
Despite their growing numbers, however, these turkeys are not domesticated. And though I haven’t heard any significant tales of them acting aggressively (other than many reports of them attacking car tires), one north Ashevillean said the turkeys resemble surly teenagers unwilling to get out of the road when cars approach. The key point is that nobody’s killing off the more aggressive birds, who will naturally take their place at the top of the pecking order.
Never seen the turkeys? Watch this video, shot recently in a north Asheville neighborhood.