A Thanksgiving question: Are turkeys taking over Asheville?

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.


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9 thoughts on “A Thanksgiving question: Are turkeys taking over Asheville?

  1. RingoStarchy

    When I lived in Leicester, hardly a week went by that I didn’t see or hear a rafter of turkeys. They’re everywhere.

  2. There’s a rafter that pecks a daily circuit through my hood. Used to be about 6 turkeys; yesterday I counted 26. My little dog loves to chase them, and they’re dumb enough to run from a 15-pound Dorkie Poo. But then he rolls in their poop. Why do dogs do that? Turkey droppings are nasty–and all over the place. The other primary annoyance is the daily 6 a.m. gobblefest as they clumsily fly down from their oak tree roost.

  3. Anyone remember several years ago when a guy in North Asheville killed one of the wild turkeys because he said it was attacking his dog? There was quite a hue and cry over the event.

  4. Turkeys are NOT your friends. Last year I was driving back from Marshall on the four-lane when a mama turkey and her brood started across the road on the opposite side.

    The fool drivers on the side could not be bother to slow down and give the turkeys a chance at survival, so mama turkey panicked and took flight.

    Despite popular concept and the classic WKRP show (totally hilarious) turkeys CAN fly for short distances. Mama turkey’s flight ended abruptly as she hit the side of my car at a combined speed of 70 or 80 (giving her 10-20 mph airspeed).

    There were four of us aboard and the car rocked violently. I managed to regain control and come to a stop. On inspecting the car, I found a good deal of turkey blood and brains on the drivers side door and window (thank God my window was UP). But the only damage was the side mirror being quite neatly removed.

    So we lived, the turkey did not. It cost me $300 to replace the mirror (not covered by my insurance).

    No, turkeys are not your friends, just ask my vehicle (the “Lieutenant-Colonel” featured on Rapid Ralph Runs the Roads).

  5. Ken Hanke

    The fool drivers on the side could not be bother to slow down and give the turkeys a chance at survival, so mama turkey panicked and took flight.

    This seems more to prove that the fool drivers are not your friends.

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