British Columbia

Turkey trouble in Castlegar leads to creation of unique road signs

A flock of wild turkeys that cross the road up to four times a day is a growing hazard for Castlegar drivers.

Too much turkey traffic forces town to take action

Sue Heaton-Sherstobitoff shows off Castlegar's new turkey crossing sign. (Bob Keating/CBC)

Why did the turkeys cross the road? 

In the town of Castlegar no one knows for sure, but folks did realize the birds were becoming a growing hazard, especially on their daily traverse of Highway 3. 

So the city council commissioned a local shop to make two "Turkey Crossing" signs after learning no such signs were commercially available. 

City councillor Sue Heaton-Sherstobitoff says drivers seem to be paying attention to the new signage.

"You know our tag line for Castlegar is happy ever after," Heaton-Sherstobitoff told CBC. "We take care of our neighbours and why doesn't that included our feathered friends."

Between 30 and 40 wild turkeys have taken roost in a vacant lot beside Highway 3, and locals report seeing them cross the road up to four times a day.

Two new signs have been commissioned and installed in Castlegar to warn driver of a growing turkey hazard. (Bob Keating/CBC)

Unfortunately wild turkeys — which can fly, unlike their domestic cousins — are not very good at avoiding speeding cars.

The car-bird collisions haven't turned out well for drivers either. 

"When they got hit they actually came up and cracked people's windshield," said Heaton-Sherstobitoff. "So it started to be a serious safety concern."

Wildlife-vehicle encounters are nothing new in the West Kootenay town, although until recently it's been elk and deer that have presented the biggest risk.

The turkeys, which are not native to the Castlegar area, were introduced to the northern U.S. and Canada in the 1960's in the hopes of growing a viable hunting population.


  • A previous version of this story mistakenly said turkeys cannot fly. In fact wild turkeys can fly short distances.
    Nov 16, 2015 10:48 AM PT

With files from Bob Keating


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