Wild Turkeys In The Garden

Wild Turkeys In The Garden

Several of our customers have asked what they should do about the wild turkeys that are appearing more frequently in Cape Cod Landscapes. These are big birds, but they’re not always as lovable as the large yellow Sesame Street character. We all can admire the iridescence of the turkey feathers, the comical long necks and the way they peer at us with one eye.

But turkeys can be destructive in the landscape as well, trampling and damaging plantings, pulling up seedlings, and creating dirt craters when taking dust baths. What’s a homeowner to do? First of all, never feed these birds. If they gather under feeders intended for small birds, shoo them away. Usually they will get the message that they’re not welcome and will move on.

If these amusing birds start damaging your plants there are a couple of ways you can protect the landscape. Bird netting can be draped over bamboo hoops to guard veggies or young annuals. Sticks that prevent the birds from rummaging in flowers can be placed in the garden until the turkeys go elsewhere. And we can order a motion-activated sprinkler that gets hooked to your garden hose, letting loose a hard spray of water if you need to move to “the big guns.”

In the meantime, celebrate the Quirky Turkeys in your garden with the poem below.

It's fun to see the young turkeys walk though in the late summer and fall.

It’s fun to see the young turkeys walk though in the late summer and fall.

The Quirky Turkey

By C.L. Fornari

When the animals were made by God,
tigers, squirrels, toads, dogs and cod,

Birds must have been his special passion:
beauty that soars in feathered fashion.

Colorful garb and bodies sleek
from slender legs to useful beak.

From tiny hummers to soaring eagle
chickadees, ducks and raucous seagull.

I imagine when God was almost finished,
He noticed the bird parts weren’t quite diminished.

He thought, “My birds are beauty based,
but I’d hate to see these go to waste.”

So extra bird parts, although quite quirky
were stuck together to make the turkey.

And now they wander though my garden
their hesitant steps saying “Beg my pardon.”

They peck at bugs and bathe in dust
and only fly if they really must.

Turkeys wander on my lawn and deck,
red caruncles along the neck.

A dangling chest feather called the beard
and above the beak, their snood, how weird!

But still this bird has won our hearts,
the quirky Turkey, made of spare parts.


This bird walked across my deck and peered in the window!

This bird walked across my deck and peered in the window!

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  1. Judy Desrochers on September 3, 2015 at 7:24 am

    Hi Nan-

    Just saying I love your HCG messages. The information isn’t just wonderful and helpful. Your passion for the earth, your history and your sentiment are so touching. Didn’t know CL wrote poetry in addition to gardening magic. Hope you have all had a wonderful summer. And we still have beautiful autumn to savor. Aren’t we lucky? Best Judy

    • CLFornari on September 3, 2015 at 7:42 am

      We are indeed blessed to be living in such a beautiful place, Judy! Thanks for your appreciation of what the Green Team at HCG do.

  2. Cookie Barry on September 3, 2015 at 8:17 am

    I enjoy and follow your gardening advice and now to my surprise learn you are a poet. Good job! Enjoyed!

    • CLFornari on September 3, 2015 at 8:58 am

      Thanks, Cookie. Writing a poem is a lot like planting a garden…you start off with an idea and then be willing to discover where it takes you.

  3. Kenneth falletti on September 4, 2015 at 4:20 pm

    Wonderful information,keep in coming; Ken from brewster,ma.

  4. Naomi Just on September 5, 2015 at 1:26 pm

    Why do you say: “Never feed these birds?”

  5. Naomi Just on September 5, 2015 at 1:27 pm

    Also…….thanks Nan for the lovely newsletter about memories. Very evocative and fun. Laughter is truly the only saving grace sometimes !!

    • CLFornari on September 5, 2015 at 1:47 pm

      Great question, Naomi! The reason is that wild turkeys can get very territorial about the person who feeds them, and they will go after other people who are in the area “to protect” their food source. These are big birds and when they start to protect one person who’s feeding them, they’ll go after kids etc. So best to let them be “wild.”

    • CLFornari on September 5, 2015 at 1:47 pm

      Nan does a great job with our newsletter, doesn’t she? We have the greatest staff members!

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