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HomenewsInvasion of Wild Turkeys on New Jersey Communities

Invasion of Wild Turkeys on New Jersey Communities

Suddenly, wild turkeys are everywhere in New Jersey. They are gaining entry to backyards by jumping over fences, ascending stairs and scaling buildings, and even gaining access to roofs and front porches.

Residents of New Jersey have reportedly become accustomed to making frantic sprints for their cars each day in order to escape the wild animals and their aggressive territorial behaviour.

Wild Turkeys Wreaking Havoc on New Jersey Neighborhoods

Unfortunately, New Jersey’s plan to increase the state’s turkey population has had the opposite effect.
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Over the course of several centuries, a steady decline in the wild turkey population resulted from the spread of popular hunting techniques. By 1977, New Jersey’s turkey population was nearly extinct.

Right about now, 22 turkeys were released into the wild by the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife. It was hoped that this effort would help rebuild the population, and now the locals can see for themselves how successful it has been.

According to Jimmy Sloan, the upland game bird biologist for the state Department of Environmental Protection, “turkeys are a highly-adaptable bird that can exist in many different settings.” Sloan elaborates by saying that the state of New Jersey has 21 counties, all of which are home to wild turkeys.

Sloan notes that there are initiatives to transfer problematic turkeys. but only if they are actively harmful. Sloan claims that pelicans tear up landscapes and puncture cars with their sharp beaks.

The biologist states, “They’re always sticking around.” Sloan continues, “If they’re not doing any damage, we can’t relocate them.” If a cardinal flies into your backyard, you wouldn’t be surprised. To paraphrase, “We wouldn’t uproot a cardinal.”

There are some “crazy” turkeys around here. Comments from a Local Resident Alice Agnello of Holiday City, New Jersey says she’s seen three of these animals in the area in the past few months. Despite the proximity of all of her interactions, she still can’t be sure if it was the same one.

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“I don’t know if it’s the same turkey,” Agnello admits. The locals have gone a little bit berserk, as the saying goes with turkeys.

Agnello claims that the meetings took place in a retirement community in the Toms River region. The first time they met, last spring, was on the woman’s way home from work. Agnello recalls hearing a “weird noise” when she pulled into her driveway. Agnello spotted a turkey in the trunk as she exited the car.

“I pulled out my wallet,” Agnello recalled. “I’ve entered the garage and pressed the “shut” button.”

Wild Turkeys Wreaking Havoc on New Jersey Neighborhoods

The same woman was driving her chihuahua to the vet a few weeks later when a turkey scurried out in front of her car. At a later time, the bird repeated the incident, only this time it started pecking at Agnello’s car. The Jersey woman said she felt threatened in each of these situations.

Agnello reflects, “He seemed to want either me or my automobile.” I’m a coward, that much I know for sure. I’m not a very brave person.

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There’s a chance the turkeys will attack. Sloan, though, is eager to point out that people shouldn’t be afraid of the big birds. As a result of mistaking their own reflections for other birds, turkeys have been known to launch attacks on moving vehicles.

“The males are dominant,” says Sloan.
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“They’ve apparently seen another man, and now it’s time to battle.”


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