(Publisher’s note: These photos of turkey are from my yard this year. Although they’ve just visited in the past, they came right up to my house to eat seed from under my feeders. )
Turkeys live in Michigan year-round, and while wild turkeys hang around through the winter, you might see more activity this spring as they enter breeding season.
If turkeys in your neighborhood are becoming bothersome, try hazing – or scaring – them as well as removing any wildlife feeders that may be out.
“While many people might feed turkeys because they enjoy seeing them, especially in the winter months, fed turkeys can become comfortable around people and may start to be unwelcome,” said Hannah Schauer, DNR wildlife communications coordinator. “If you do have feeders out, make sure they are inaccessible to the turkeys or you may need to remove them altogether.”
You also want to establish your dominance by using some hazing techniques to scare them when they come around, like making loud noises and waving your arms. Don’t be shy – you want to maintain turkeys’ natural fear of humans. It’s important for the animals’ safety and helps keep them from becoming a nuisance to people.
Male turkeys, especially during breeding season, become territorial toward other male turkeys – including their own reflection. Songbirds such as robins or cardinals also peck at their own reflection in a window. Cover or disguise your windows to help keep the birds from seeing their reflection. You may also want to park vehicles inside or cover them to prevent damage if a turkey finds its reflection in the paint or shiny hubcaps.
“If you are in an area where hunting is allowed, you can take advantage of turkey hunting opportunities,” said Schauer. “Hunting plays an important role in managing turkeys by regulating their numbers.”
Spring turkey season is open through June 7. Learn about turkey hunting opportunities at Michigan.gov/Turkey.
Questions? Contact the DNR Wildlife Division at 517-284-9453.