Wild turkeys

Wild turkeys are being observed more frequently in our neighbourhoods. They were once extinct in Ontario but were re-introduced in 1984. Now, Ontario has a thriving wild turkey population.

Wild turkeys can weigh anywhere from 7 to 30 pounds and can run up to 19 kilometres per hour. They can also fly to avoid predators, such as coyotes and people, and can get up onto trees at night to roost.

Avian flu

Avian flu has been confirmed in Mississauga. The risk of transmission to humans is low but is high among wild or domestic birds like turkeys and chickens. In some cases, pets like birds, cats and dogs can contract the flu.

To avoid further spread of avian flu, keep your pets indoors or on a leash outdoors to avoid interacting with other wildlife or contact with fecal waste. Stay away from bird droppings and avoid handling sick, dying or dead birds/animals. Clean bird feeders with bleach and water and remove them if you see dead birds. Avoid feeding or interacting with wild birds.

Those participating in the Urban Hen Pilot Program should keep a closed flock, limit visitors, and avoid introducing new birds. Follow and familiarize yourself with best practices and disinfection measures to help prevent an outbreak. For more information on protecting your birds from avian flu, visit Canadian Food Inspection Agency site here.

Contact 311 to report a sick or injured wild bird or animal or the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative at 1-866-673-4781 to report any die-off incident of wild birds or mammals.

Visit the Ministry of Health for more information about avian flu.

Avoiding wild turkeys

Wild turkeys are normally shy birds that tend to avoid human activity. However, they can become a nuisance when they become reliant on people for food. In some cases, they can chase people expecting to be fed.

To avoid encountering wild turkeys, do not feed wild animals. Doing so will cause them to lose their natural fear of people, and they will begin to approach and act aggressively towards people.

If you encounter a wild turkey

  • Don’t run away
  • Make yourself look big
  • Keep your pets on a leash