Troublesome wild turkeys ruffle feathers in southeastern B.C.

Imagine: 80 turkeys running free in your town

Wild turkeys are creating a flutter in southeastern British Columbia as growing flocks of the birds spend the winter in the region, damaging trees and properties.

Edgewater residents Val and Mark Holmes are the latest to complain about as many as 80 of the large and ungainly birds.

Val Holmes says for the past several years, the creatures have spent winters roosting in their evergreen trees and by spring whole branches have been broken off, needles and twigs litter the ground and the excrement can be at least 2.5 centimetres deep.

Regional District of East Kootenay director Gerry Wilkie blames the problem on a few people who feed the birds, habituating them to human contact and encouraging them to remain near the community.

He says local and provincial regulations don’t cover the feeding of non-dangerous wildlife, so he is working on a regional district bylaw that he hopes will deter anyone providing food to the turkeys, although he admits the process won’t be quick.

Kimberly, Cranbrook and Radium Hot Springs have all had issues regulating wild turkeys, which are not native to the province, and Wilkie says some Edgewater residents have even mulled plans to bait a trailer, trap the birds and haul them out of town.

The Canadian Press

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