Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Scrub turkeys in your back yard!?

Last year sometime the neighbour came over and asked if one of our chookies had disappeared. I had a quick head count and said, "No, why?". She explained that she thought she had seen one of them in the undergrowth in her garden. We went hunting and eventually discovered a Scrub Turkey chick scurrying around.
We were quite pleased to be able to add scrub turkey to our collective awesomely biodiverse backyards and over the next few months excitedly reported sightings in the Poinciana tree, on the fences and general scurrying around.

And then it disappeared and we forgot about it.

Last week at about 6am my chookies went berserk. I leapt out of bed and rushed to their pen (dressed glamorously in my purple bed sox and untied dressing gown) to see what was the matter. From their sqwarking, I had assumed a cat or dog had got into the pen - but when I got there, there was nothing to be seen. No intruder of a feline or canine variety - not even a chicken.

I called to them and they came, nervously, out of their houses and looked a bit dishevelled. I was mystified as to what had scared them. Over the next few days the neighbours commented that the chooks were making some loud squawks occasionally during the day and enquired as to their well being.  I finally discovered what it was - The Scrub Turkey has grown up and has come back and want her share of the gourmet food my chookies get from my work.

That's an 8' fence she is sitting on, waiting to see how close I'm going to get before flying over to the neighbours pergola.

That's her on our pergola roof looking to fly onto the neighbours roof in the distance if I get any closer.

And there she is thinking about coming back into the pen...

One of my kids spent a day chasing it away from the pen with rakes and sticks and loud noises (to the amusement of the neighbours) but it just keeps coming back. We raked up all the food, but that didn't deter her.

She is MUCH bigger than my chookies and I suspect much more aggressive.

The chookies were getting stressed and not laying. I was getting stressed and wondering what to do. The neighbours were getting stressed wondering if they needed to go over and rescue the chookies when they squawked- it was all getting a bit much.

So I decided to call in the Big Guns...

Here's what I did...

I called the local City Council and asked to speak to someone in Animal Management and I couldn't have spoken to a more helpful person - who couldn't help me! It turns out that scrub turkeys are not 'feral' animals and so they wont come and trap it for me and take it away.

They are 'protected' in that you cant hunt or hurt them either. But if I could catch it - they would come and relocate it.

And there in lies the catch - how to catch an animal that can fly from roof top to roof top - just like elasti-girl in "The Incredibles" across the city????

I told the teenager that there was plenty of money and good times for him if he managed to catch the aforementioned non-feral flying native animal (without hurting it). He planned and schemed and rubbed his hands together - and you know what? We haven't seen it since I made the phone call to the council!

Long may that last!!!

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