Growing turkey population sparks controversy in local neighborhoods

The turkey population is growing in Western Oregon and people have mixed feelings about it.

Posted: Nov 30, 2017 9:21 AM

EUGENE, Ore. -- Wild turkeys have been a part of the Eugenian lifestyle for years, but some communities are noticing a growth in the population.

Diana Fingal is a resident who lives in South Eugene. She said every day she sees turkeys roaming her neighborhood.

Fingal said it's not uncommon to see flocks taking over her yard and roosting nests in the trees. She said a couple of years ago there were 80 of them in her lawn.

"This is a wooded area, it's a beautiful area, we deal with turkeys and deer and squirrels," she said. "They all can be seen as a menace, but they're also part of living here."

Fingal is not the only one who loves having turkeys in her community. Carrie Oberg also lives in Eugene and says she often sees them trotting around her neighborhood.

"On Thanksgiving day, many times I've seen them strut themselves down the street, which is so funny because it's almost like they're saying 'haha you didn't get us'," said Oberg.

However, some residents have mixed feelings about the presence of these birds.

Mark Baptista is a Roseburg resident. He said his neighborhood is also filled turkeys but, he finds them to be destructive to his property.

"They're waiting to be fed and if they're not being fed they just mill around in the yards ... waiting for someone to come outside to feed them, " said Baptista. "It's a huge problem."

He said he would like to see an ordinance in place that would fine those who feeds these types of fowl.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) said they once partnered with the City of Eugene to pass an ordinance that would address this matter but, it was never passed.

Michelle Dennehy, a spokeswoman with ODFW, advises people to not feed the turkeys, whether it's intentionally or unintentionally.

"Don't feed turkeys," said Dennehy. "Don't leave pet food around."

Dennehy said hunting season helps reduce the turkey population, but only those who have a required permit are allowed to hunt for them.

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