Blackbirds Versus Brush Turkeys

To: "Peter Woodall" <>, <>
Subject: Blackbirds Versus Brush Turkeys
From: "Scott O'Keeffe" <>
Date: Fri, 29 Sep 2000 17:33:29 +1000
I live in Toowong, and there are many Bush Turkeys here.  I won't deny they
have caused me problems by digging up plants, raking away mulch, etc.  But I
enjoy their presence more than I regret the damage they do.  I've also found
some good ways to deal with them.

My vegetable garden has been fenced with chicken wire.  The trick to making
this work is to ensure that there is no gap at ground level.  The turkeys
are more likely to go under than over, as they are poor fliers.  They went
over the top only once.  I ran in and gave them a good scare, then I opened
the gate and chased them out.  Aversion therapy.  I have quite a few native
plantings in the yard, and to secure these, I have mulched them with
drainage gravel.  Fairly coarse stuff.  The turkeys find it uninteresting,
and probably have a little difficulty moving it.  Since switching from hay
(which caused no end of problems) to gravel, I have had no plant losses.

Of use, I hope.

 -----Original Message-----
  On Behalf Of Peter Woodall
Sent:   Friday, 29 September 2000 9:45
Subject:        Blackbirds Versus Brush Turkeys

At 22:06 27/09/2000 +1000, you wrote:
>Allan Morris wrote:
>> Hi Birders,
>> I have been following the comments about the apparent damage that
>> blackbirds do in urban gardens in Victoria, like digging up the
>> plants!! Compared to what damage Brush Turkeys to to urban gardens
>> here on the Central Coast, particularly in the Gosford Local
>> Government area, those melbourne gardeners should be pretty thankjful
>> that you don't have Brush Turkeys yet!
>Hmmm, if you have problems with bush turkeys, you obviously have the
>wrong sort of garden.  We had a mound on our back fence at our previous
>residence, and didn't have any problems whatsoever - but then we didn't
>have any flower beds and we did donate all our grass clippings to the
>mound [try as he might, the turkey would have lost over half the
>clippings between the compost heap and his mound].
>Anyhow, I'm a firm believer in turkey rights - they do wonderful work in
>the rainforest!!

Actually in the rainforest, and the area I know best is Brisbane Forest Park
where I've done a 12 km sruvey for many years,  I find Brush Turkeys few and
far between.  This contrasts with the situation around picnic areas.

I wish that they were that scarce in our garden, backing onto a dry creek
coming down from Toohey Forest in Brisbane [over the hill from you Laurie,
and I don't think that it is the WRONG sort of garden].

Over the past 14 years we've planted many hundreds of native trees and
in the garden and it is starting to thicken up appreciably.  However, with
arrival of turkeys in the last 3-4 years, any new plantings have to be
with logs to prevent the turkeys digging them up. I don't know if they are
going for
worms, or beetle grubs or are attracted by the damp soil but some plantings
dug out almost immediately. In other cases they dig all around my

Most books on native gardens talk about the importance of mulch.  Try
keeping mulch
around plants when there are turkeys about!!!



Dr Peter Woodall                          email =

Division of Vet Pathology & Anatomy
School of Veterinary Science.             Phone = +61 7 3365 2300
The University of Queensland              Fax   = +61 7 3365 1355
Brisbane, Qld, Australia 4072             WWW  =
"hamba phezulu" (= "go higher" in isiZulu)

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