Minnesota mulls removing wild turkeys after locals protest


MOORHEAD, Minn. (AP) — A Minnesota city might consider requesting a state permit to remove aggressive wild turkeys after some residents complained about the birds, a police official said.

Moorhead Deputy Police Chief Tory Jacobson said the police department doesn’t have the skills or resources to add wildlife management to its list of responsibilities. The department, which also runs the city’s animal control unit, estimates that there are about 300 turkeys are currently roosting and walking in residential neighborhoods.

Moorhead residents shared tales about living in close proximity to the wild turkeys during the department’s meeting on Wednesday, Minnesota Public Radio News reported. Some feel as though the turkeys are taking over. But others welcome the animals as neighbors.

There are about 20 to 30 turkeys that congregate in my backyard, said Brett Bernath, who lives in Moorhead.

“I cannot walk in and out of my house through my doors without tramping through piles,” Bernath noted. “You could swab my shoes right now: I’m covered in filth. My house is covered in filth. My pets eat and roll in it. My child plays in it.”

Zenas Baer, who lives in a south Moorhead neighborhood, thinks the birds should be left alone.

“I have many, many turkeys as my friends. I call them my friends. They are my neighbors, they are fellow living creatures,” Baer said.

The wild turkey population in Moorhead isn’t new, but it is growing. They’re often seen strolling sidewalks, blocking doors and traffic and getting attention for their antics on social media. And turkeys have also made themselves at home in other U.S. communities.

Jacobson promised Moorhead will move quickly to create a management plan, but he said any comprehensive plan to manage turkeys will require more resources and expertise.