Ottawa

Wild turkeys, a nuisance for some, welcomed by woodlot owners

Re-introduced wild turkeys in the Ottawa area have been known to pester seniors in Barrhaven and cause traffic hazards, among other things, but woodlot owners say they're a welcome addition to the landscape.
Not everyone thinks the roving fowl are a nuisance. 2:31

Re-introduced wild turkeys in the Ottawa area have been known to pester seniors in Barrhaven and cause traffic hazards, among other things, but woodlot owners say they're a welcome addition to the landscape.

Wild turkeys are often a welcome addition to the land of woodlot owners. (CBC News)
"There are negatives, but like any animal there's a positive side and there's a negative side," said Kerry Coleman, a woodlot owner and director for the Ontario Woodlot Association.

Coleman said the large birds are sometimes wrongly accused of eating crops in the summer when they're actually in fields to feast on insects.

But he said they can cause damage to some crops, such as grapes and strawberries, eat buds in spring and cause traffic hazards, among other nuisances.

Kerry Coleman says there are positives and negatives to wild turkeys in rural and urban landscapes. (CBC News)
"The other one is that people see them in urban settings and they can get very bold and sometimes aggressive," Coleman said.

But on the positive side, Coleman said wild turkeys are delicious to eat, challenging to hunt, and generate economic benefits from the thousands of hunting licenses sold in the province each year.

"I'm pleased to see them here. It's nice to have them back," he said.

Gerry Lee, a woodlot owner, made special clearings on his property to attract wild turkeys.

Woodlot owner Francine Lord feeds the 45 wild turkeys on her property in the winter months. (CBC News)
"Over time it's worked. I've got turkeys that come in every year now and put on a show for me, and occasionally I hunt them, and it's just a wonderful experience," he said.

"For me it's completing the picture from a biological point of view."

Francine Lord, another woodlot owner, had about 45 turkeys on her property this winter.

"I'm part of the family," she said. "They are lovely and I enjoy them very much."

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