GOBBLE GOBBLE: A bush turkey.
GOBBLE GOBBLE: A bush turkey. Richard Mamando

Are bush turkeys becoming a plague?

COULD it be that Northern NSW and Queensland residents have become desensitised by the number of bush turkeys roaming the area?

For those visiting the region for the first time, the sight of a bush turkey is often a new and exciting experience worthy of taking a photo.

But for some long-time residents, the bush (or brush) turkeys have become a "plague" which are only comparable to the often detested Australian white ibis (or bin chicken).

Tweed Heads resident Barry Clugston, who has lived in the area for nearly his entire life, said something needed to be done about the turkeys which were "wreaking havoc on Greenmount Hill".

For Mr Clugston, Greenmount Hill used to be a place where people could go and relax as they sat on the hill's green grass and watched the water from above.

But now, the hill is "one great almighty mess" which has been "invaded" by turkeys who dig around on the hill, knocking rocks and dirt on to people walking below.

"This is a modern phenomenon, I've been there nearly every day over the last 10 or 15 years and there was never a problem with the bush turkeys, now they've become a plague and no one will admit it or do anything about it," Mr Clugston said.

"The turkeys have dug everything up, they've invaded the hill and turned it into one big turkey nest.

"They should call it turkey nest hill."

Do you feel bush turkeys have become a pest?

This poll ended on 13 September 2018.

Current Results

Yes, they have become a pest.

49%

No, I don't have a problem with them.

49%

I have a different opinion.

1%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Mr Clugston said he would like to see the turkeys relocated and "turn Greenmount back into the beautiful hill it was before".

"A lot of people haven't seen the beautiful grassy hill the way it was before, it was very picturesque and now it's all dirt."

But not everyone agrees with Mr Clugston.

Tweed Heads resident Larry Francis said the turkeys were "unique".

"I don't really see them as a problem as long as they're not digging those deep burrows on the hill which puts dirt all over the path," he said.

"Everywhere around here is full of turkeys, I don't see them as a problem and the tourists love them."

Tugan's John McLagan said there was "nothing wrong with the turkeys".

"Young kids chase them for fun, even though they're an ugly bird people still like them and they don't hurt anybody," he said.

A post by former Mayor Gary Bagnall on Facebook showed another "turkey invasion" on a vacant block of land on Church Lane in Murwillumbah.

 

Former Tweed Shire Mayor Gary Bagnall posted this photo of a
Former Tweed Shire Mayor Gary Bagnall posted this photo of a "turkey invasion" in Murwillumbah this morning. Gary Bagnall

Currumbin Wildlife Hospital head veterinarian Dr Michael Pyne said the turkeys had "adapted quite well to the urban environment".

"It's the time of year that they're nesting, the rest of the year they're not as active so you don't notice them around as much but they're a very common species," he said.

"They're good as scavenging and will eat almost anything so do quite well where people are around.

"The unique thing about scrub turkeys is they're completely independent, they hatch and are on their own from day one, there's absolutely zero parenting from the turkeys, it's every parent's dream."

Local area councillor Gail O'Neill said she was aware of the problem at Greenmount and netting had been put in place to stop the turkeys from destroying regrowth.

But, Cr O'Neill said there was nothing more that could be done as the turkeys were "a protected species".

Bush turkeys at Greenmount Hill.
Bush turkeys at Greenmount Hill. Richard Mamando
Greenmount in Coolangatta has been overtaken by bush turkeys.
Greenmount in Coolangatta has been overtaken by bush turkeys. Richard Mamando


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