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CHATTER: The not so wild Annex turkey (Winter 2019)

March 14th, 2019 · No Comments

Rose hanging out at Art Eggleton Park. HUSNA SARI/GLEANER NEWS

By Brian Burchell

This female Eastern White Wild Turkey, dubbed “Rose” by neighbours, seems to enjoy her mini-range consisting of Christie Pits, Bickford, and Art Eggleton parks.

Though the species is more often than not shy of humans, Rose seems to like children but can be very defensive with dogs that charge her.

About the height of a 5-year-old kid, she favours the areas around playground equipment.

Eastern White Wild Turkeys were almost extinct in North America one hundred years ago but now are estimated to have a population of 7 million. Roughly 70,000 of them reside year-round in Ontario.

Many jurisdictions are to be credited with the species’ revival including the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR). In the early 1980s the MNR started a wild turkey restoration project which  involved the trapping and transfer of wild turkeys from Missouri, Michigan, New York, Vermont, and New Jersey, to Ontario.

In 1984, the MNR released 4,400 wild turkeys at 275 sites across the province. In exchange, Ontario sent otters to Missouri and Nebraska, partridges to New York, and moose to Michigan.

Though Annex residents have been feeding Rose, she is also happy to scour the ground cover for nuts and seeds, though the turkeys are technically omnivorous and will consume insects and invertebrates.

Their high adaptability in terms of both landscape and diet are credited with the birds’ resurgence. The MNR now allows a limited hunting season.

­Rose’s Annex refuge appears to be a mutually satisfactory arrangement for humans and fowl alike.

Tags: Annex · News

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