The Turkeys of American River Drive


Gobble, Gobble. Turkeys have been roaming the local neighborhood since its creation 50 years ago and since then they have brought only problems. Each year, the turkeys have cost local residents hundreds of dollars in damage and put our lives at risk, in addition to gobbling up all the resources. The turkeys also put our lives at risk!
“I was driving to school really early in the morning before zero period and a rafter of turkeys walked into the road,” said senior Peter Kim. “If my dad wasn’t paying attention we could have been in a serious crash!”
A rafter is a group of turkeys that can be from five to 100 turkeys. The turkeys are also notorious for causing traffic jams in the morning as students are being dropped off.
“I was late one time because turkeys were crossing the street,” said senior Marshall Raley.
The turkeys are also causing damage to the roofs of local houses. The turkeys like to roost on the roof of houses where it is warm and while up there they leave behind a lot of feathers and poop.
“The turkeys live on my roof, sometimes I hear them and gobble at them. They also leave feathers and poop on my roof and I have to go clean it,” said senior Rhys Hershey.
There is no use for local pest control to deal with this problem because the turkeys are native to the adjacent American River Parkway, where they live in the wild. It is estimated that there are seven million turkeys in North America.
“I hate it when the turkeys eat all of my grapes off my grape vine,” said junior Juli Towle. The turkeys are known for eating all of the fruit from the local household gardens. Many residents have to put up fences to keep the turkeys from invading their garden.
Normally, the turkeys would eat the acorns or seeds from native trees and bushes, but the turkey’s diet is changing with all of the invasive plants and processed food becoming available to them. As a result, the turkeys are changing with their diet, and becoming more aggressive.
“I tried to pet a turkey out front of my house and it chased me. I could have been seriously pecked,” said Hershey.
If a turkey confronts you for any reason the situation should not be taken lightly. Turkeys can be aggressive and are known to cause injury. So, if you are being confronted by turkeys, slowly back away without making any sudden movements.
Last year, 12 people were sent to the emergency room because of turkeys, and if turkeys are becoming more aggressive, that number is only going to rise. We are in an epidemic of turkeys and need to learn to coexist with them because they were here before us. If we don’t respect them we could be one of the dozen people every year that is hospitalized by turkeys.
Turkeys can weigh up to 30 pounds and have a razor sharp beak that can easily pierce skin. Turkeys should be avoided at all costs in late February and early April because it is mating season and they are especially dangerous.
Turkey season officially began November 9 and students are flocking to the local hunting grounds to get a turkey. Each year, the fall turkey season begins and each hunter is allowed to take two turkeys and only one per hunting trip between November 9 and December 8. Senior Luke Jepma is an avid hunter of the Northern california area. “Every year, I go up and hunt a turkey for Thanksgiving dinner,” said senior Luke Jepma, “I haven’t gone up yet this year, but plan on getting a turkey this year.” Turkeys are the third most popular game bird in the california an each year hunters bag nearly 25000 turkeys are hunted in california. It may seem like a lot of turkeys are being taken from the wild but it is essential for population control. In areas where the turkey population is not regulated and hunting is illegal, the turkeys reproduce at alarming rates, and if they are not hunted the turkey epidemic will begin like it has on American River Drive and they will bring their problems to the rest of California.