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Turkeys are the talk of the town in Oregon city

Sep 15, 2013


By The Associated Press

CANBY — Residents of the northern Willamette Valley town Canby are trying to figure out just how many wild turkeys is just the right amount of wild turkeys.

The bald-headed, black-eyed, out-of-towners were first spotted last summer, when five plump birds showed up, said Lydia Hart, a special education teacher who created a Facebook page for them: Canby Town Turkeys.

The birds have been seen rummaging through flowerbeds, walking across neighbors’ rooftops and loitering outside living room windows, The Oregonian reports.

One died when a car hit it. Recently, residents noticed a baby turkey — called a poult — in the flock. And some residents think a second flock of turkeys has come to town.

There have been many conversations about whether the birds are wild or domesticated and where they lived before making Canby their new home.

The birds seem fairly tame, said Austin Robinett, who suspects they may have come from a farm in the Willamette Valley.

“You can usually gobble at them, and they'll come walking right up to your feet,” he said.

Oregon has five non-native subspecies of wild turkeys, said Dave Budeau, an upland game and bird biologist for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. Those in Canby don't look like the ones usually found in the state and he's not sure what type they are.

Wild or not, Hart and the other turkey watchers hope the birds will stay in the city of about 16,000.

“It gives you that small town feel,” Hart said. “This is just a reminder: It's a small town. Slow down. Enjoy the scenery.”

Others point out that turkeys can damage to lawns and gardens and get into scrapes with people or other animals. The state agency has been called in to remove turkeys in other towns. Some towns, such as Jefferson, have authorized hunting days.

“Once there are 25 or 30 roaming the city limits, they're not going to be cute anymore,” said Brent McNeill said. “I just think we should get the turkeys out of town before they become an issue.”

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Information from: The Oregonian, http://www.oregonlive.com

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