By Renu Bhatt
My family has lived in the Albany flats for about five years. We have two small children, ages 4 and 1. While we have a small lot, we have a very healthy, freshly trimmed giant redwood in our backyard.
About four months ago, approximately 30 turkeys began to roost in the tree — every night. They arrive around sundown and leave around daybreak. Folks get very excited to see them on parade. My family was once excited by the occasional turkey flock sighting. However, the wild turkeys are getting less wild and more bothersome now that they roost in our yard.
These turkeys are a nuisance and damaging our property. Worse, as they get acclimated to people, they pose a danger to our children. Their droppings are everywhere, such that our children are no longer allowed to play in our yard. Our small yard smells like a zoo. The roof of our home and garage are unbearably dirty.
These turkeys are extremely loud and wake us and our children up at all hours of the night and morning. One turkey can be heard up to one mile away. Imagine 30 right there on your property while you’re trying to sleep. They are often on our cars, scratching the finishes.
What is most concerning is that the turkeys have gotten increasingly desensitized to human presence. They are bold and are no longer scared. I have walked to my car only to find about half a dozen just sitting there, not moving, despite my shoos or making wild or loud gestures. I have walked out my front door to find a half dozen sitting on the porch, completely unwilling to move when I tried to shoo them from close proximity.
Our two small children, who are smaller than the turkeys, are completely resentful of their disrupted sleep and inability to play in our backyard.
The turkeys are not only a problem for us. They also pose a broader public health hazard to the community. Alameda County Vector Control came to the home and was able to see the extensive evidence of roosting. They told me that they have responded to several complaints from neighbors. I know my immediate neighbors are eager for the population to move away.
However, Vector Control said that some people nearby are feeding them and refuse to stop. Vector Control suggested some harmless scare tactics, which have only resulted in the turkeys roosting higher in the tree — or not reacting at all. They are not discouraged at all.
We cannot live like this. And we do not know what to do. Needless to say, cutting down a giant redwood or moving are not cost-effective or even reasonable. We are growing increasingly scared of the turkeys’ unabashed proximity to us, neighbors and, specifically, our small children.
In addition, breeding season is upon us. The population has gone from around six to around 30 rather rapidly, so I cannot imagine what is in store for us if something is not done soon. We do not want to harm or even harass the turkeys. We do want them to leave our tree.
Meanwhile, with people feeding them, they are getting less and less wild.
- If any reader has information on which authorities will remove the birds, such that they do not return, please let the Albany Patch editors know by emailing email@example.com.
- Offers of help and suggestions are welcome.
- If you are feeding these birds, please stop. Keep them wild.
Thank you for your time and attention.