LIMA — Motorists were at first enthused about seeing wild turkeys at the corner of North Eastown and Diller roads, but lately, the turkeys have become a road hazard.
The number of turkeys dwindled from three to two when one turkey was hit on the road causing damage to a car.
“One had been hit on the road and left car parts on the road, according to one of the property owners in the area. They’re pretty significant in size,” said Craig Barr, state wildlife officer with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. “They had definitely been pen-raised at one time, it’s just not normal behavior for wild turkeys. I don’t know what the situation was if they got too big for someone and they thought we’ll just let them go or what, but that’s kind of where they had come from.”
The remaining two turkeys stayed around the area, walking in the roads and causing traffic to halt while they crossed the roads.
Over the duration of six weeks, the ODNR had been called about the turkeys being a road hazard, holding up traffic from the Allen County Sheriff’s Office, American Township Police Department, and then Elida schools, as they were having issues with the buses.
“It’s really a sad situation all around because I know people like to see them, but the more they would come to cars, the more people would stop; the more people would stop, the more they would come to cars. It was kind of a circle there,” Barr said.
The two remaining turkeys were a nuisance and something had to be done.
“We attempted, two sheriff deputies, myself and another wildlife officer, attempted to catch them at first. We had a big net and we wanted to corner them. We did this for at least an hour on Saturday, March 11. Finally they were in an area where it was safe to euthanize and I made the decision to euthanize,” Barr said.
The turkeys were placed in a field to let nature take its course.
“I put them back in a field and let nature take it’s course on them, feeding something. People would ask me, well I sure hope they went to good use. Like I mentioned, they had obviously been pen raised, pen fed sometime, and a lot of the feed that people use may have an antibiotic or something like that. So without knowing what may or may not have been in their diet, it was decided that it was a better choice to let the other critters work on them. Whether it’s a higher predator like a raccoon or a fox or coyote or just the normal microbes that eventually get back into the food chain,” Barr said.
Barr does not recommend having food out to feed wild animals, with the exception of birds.
“Anytime you’re feeding wildlife, it’s probably not the best situation. We do encourage having bird feeders, that type of thing. Raccoons, possums, anything like that you’re making them accustomed to associating humans with food and wild animals don’t make good pets by any means. With raccoons and possums, if you’re feeding them, you’re probably signing their death certificate as well. If you’re allowed to move them to another area, you’re just moving your problem to somebody else, and there’s possibility of moving disease as well, with those types of things. Don’t feed them at all,” Barr said.
For Paul Good, who lived at the corner of Diller and North Eastown Road, it was bittersweet knowing the turkeys had been euthanized.
“I heard there were too many complaints from people. I kind of miss them. In one way, I am glad they are gone because they crapped everywhere,” Good said.
Good and his wife, Laura, put food out for birds, squirrels and rabbits. The turkeys had made a habit of eating the food.
“If they had been at another intersection where it wasn’t so busy, it might have been better for them,” Good said.
Reach Merri Hanjora at 567-242-0511.