The following comes from Animal Control Officer Kenneth Stache.
Every year turkeys appear for a short while and should move onto other feeding sources. However, when they hang around in the neighborhoods someone is feeding them. They have a wide range of things they eat in the wild. Like, plant material, including acorns, nuts (especially hickory), grapes, skunk cabbage, barberry and other berries and tubers. They will scratch the ground seeking food and feed heavily on insects during the summer. Their natural feeding habits are nature’s way of keeping everything in check. When we feed wildlife, they lose their ability to survive and we do more harm than good. If you enjoy wildlife, please don’t feed them!
PREVENTING CONFLICTS WITH TURKEYS
DON’T FEED TURKEYS — Keep wild things wild! Feeding, whether direct or indirect, can cause turkeys to act tame and may lead to bold or aggressive behavior, especially in the breeding season.
KEEP BIRD FEEDER AREAS CLEAN — Use feeders designed to keep seed off the ground, as the seed attracts turkeys and other wild animals. Clean up spilled seed from other types of feeders daily. Remove feeders in the spring, as there is plenty of natural food available for all birds.
DON’T LET TURKEYS INTIMIDATE YOU — Don’t hesitate to scare or threaten a bold, aggressive turkey with loud noises, swatting with a broom or water sprayed from a hose. A dog on a leash is also an effective deterrent.
COVER WINDOWS OR OTHER REFLECTIVE OBJECTS — If a turkey is pecking at a shiny object such as a vehicle or window, cover or otherwise disguise the object. Harass the bird by chasing it, squirting with a hose or other means of aggression.
PROTECT YOUR GARDENS AND CROPS — You can harass turkeys searching for food in your gardens. Dogs tethered on a run can also be effective in scaring turkeys away from gardens. Netting is another option to employ. In agricultural situations, some scare devices are effective.
EDUCATE YOUR NEIGHBORS — Pass this information along: Your efforts will be futile if neighbors are providing food for turkeys or neglecting to act boldly toward the birds. It requires the efforts of the entire neighborhood to help keep wild turkeys wild.