MENDON, Cache County — Hundreds of wild turkeys are flocking through the streets, leaving a mess behind and making lots of noise in the town of about 1,500.
"I’m sitting in my office right now, looking out the window, and there is close to a hundred turkeys out on the city square right now," Mendon Mayor Ed Buist said Tuesday.
“They’re kind of cool in a way, but there’s just way too many of them,” said homeowner Karla Davidson. She has long gotten over the novelty of the holiday birds.
“They make a mess of the yard. There’s turkey poop everywhere. It’s on the sidewalk and tracked into the house,” Davidson said.
Yet others enjoy seeing the wildlife.
“The turkeys, they’re really cool to see, just running around town,” said Brandy Larsen, who is new to Mendon. “I like 'em. I like seeing wildlife around. I was surprised to see as many as there were. I didn’t think they would congregate in that large of a group.”
The Bird family is a bit divided over the issue.
“I don’t mind ’em because I think they’re kind of fun,” said resident Angela Bird. “I like to sit and watch them. They’re funny. They run down the road, just like a parade. They follow each other in a big line.”
While she doesn’t mind the turkeys, her husband differs.
“They’re just terrible,” Karl Bird said with a laugh. “They’re just everywhere. Poo all over.”
Granted there are some benefits to having them around.
“The neighbor behind me, he said you never have to fertilize your lawn, so I guess that’s good,” Larsen said.
But getting back to the point of the matter.
Phil Douglass, Division of Wildlife Resources' conservation outreach manager for northern Utah, said the turkey population in town continues to grow.
“We’re finding there are some residents that are feeding (the turkeys) in town, and that’s kind of undermining our efforts to keep the wildlife in the wildlands,” Douglass said. He said the turkeys should not be in town.
Division biologists would like to see the turkeys nest outside of town, and a piece of land owned by the city was set aside for turkeys. With the help of farmers, they planted food for them and created a natural habitat. But thanks to the offerings in town, more of them are leaving the place.
Nate Long, habitat restoration biologist for the DWR, said the program had been working up until recently.8 comments on this story
“This is a three-star restaurant, but it’s really hard for us to compete with the five-star restaurant in town when folks put out food, whether by accident or purposefully for the turkeys,” Long said.
He said people need to give the turkeys fewer reasons to make their way through the streets.
“If we could alleviate that problem, the turkeys will move back up the hill and out of town,” Long said.
In the meantime, Davidson said the turkeys seem to be making themselves at home in the trees behind her house.
“There was probably 150 in our backyard yesterday morning,” she said.