Plan hatched to end the Toms River wild turkey terror
A plan has been formulated to end the Toms River wild turkey terror, but it may take several weeks to play out.
Following multiple reports of large flocks of wild turkeys menacing residents in the Holiday City Section of the township, state wildlife officials are now actively working to trap the nuisance turkeys so they can be removed from the area.
A statement issued by the Department of Environmental Protection, which oversees the Division of Fish and Wildlife, says trails of corn are being used to lure the turkeys into a trap zone, where they will be netted and then hauled away.
Toms River Animal Control Manager Rich Barbosa says removing the birds will be a relief, but this could turn out to be a temporary fix because it seems some homeowners are feeding the birds.
“They might not even be knowingly feeding the turkeys. A lot of them have bird feeders and the squirrels knock the seed onto the ground and the turkeys come in and eat anything that’s on the ground," he said. “I don’t know of anyone that’s actively feeding the turkeys and I hope they are not because if they are it’s going to make everyone’s job that much harder to actually trap them and relocate them.”
Barbosa said some residents may not be afraid of the turkeys and think it’s cute to offer them food. But this would be a mistake.
“Don’t do it because they get drawn in, they get desensitized to people. They don’t act like normal wildlife should act, which is they stay away from people,” he said.
He said when you start feeding wild turkeys in suburban neighborhoods, bad things happen.
“They’re roaming the streets, they have no fear. There’s no natural predators there," Barbosa said.
State wildlife officials are also appealing to residents in Toms River to not give the turkeys any food, including bird seed.
The also encourage people to use some good, old-fashioned techniques like waving a broom or spraying them with a garden hose to reinforce their fear of people.
Residents could also place cardboard over windows to prevent reflections, which attracts the Tom turkeys.
Barbosa said animal control officers on the local level in New Jersey are not allowed to trap or relocate turkeys or other wildlife, so it’s good news the Division of Fish and Wildlife has a plan to deal with the situation.
You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com