PEI

Turkeys spotted in Brookvale probably not wild, says wildlife biologist

A group of turkeys spotted wandering along the road in Brookvale — and the subject of some online chatter — are not wild, according to a P.E.I. wildlife biologist.

There are about two dozen domesticated turkeys in the area

A group of turkeys has been spotted in Brookvale, prompting questions about whether they're wild or domesticated. (Submitted by Chris MacLeod)

A group of turkeys spotted wandering along the road in Brookvale — and the subject of some online chatter — are not wild, according to a P.E.I. wildlife biologist.

Some Islanders posted photos of the turkeys to social media a few days ago.

The photos prompted speculation they may have been wild turkeys brought to P.E.I. from the mainland a decade ago, when hunters had planned to introduce wild turkeys to the Island.

Provincial wildlife biologist Gary Gregory, who has seen the photos, said the turkeys are domesticated birds that were likely released or escaped from nearby farms.

"A wild turkey in its native range is a fairly elusive creature, in fact it's prized game species because it's a very challenging hunt and people have trouble getting close to her," he said.

"But these turkeys we see on P.E.I., they don't display that behaviour. In fact, they come in close proximity to people often, so we don't believe they are actually true wild turkeys. We believe they are descendants from or individuals that were released directly from agricultural operations, that sort of thing."

Gregory said to his knowledge there are no wild turkeys on P.E.I. He said there are about two dozen feral turkeys in the area that have survived Island winters, but genetically they still aren't wild turkeys. 

He added that bagging one of the turkeys for dinner is not allowed under the province's regulations.

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