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'This turkey has literally taken over our life': Wild turkey terrorizing Minnesota neighborhood

Rachael Gross says she lives in fear of going outside, thanks to her neighbor, a wild turkey, who seems to have taken a liking to her property.

Rachael Gross says she lives in fear of going outside, thanks to her neighbor, a wild turkey, who seems to have taken a liking to her property. (WCCO)


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COON RAPIDS, Minn. — Neighbors in a Coon Rapids mobile home park are battling with a bird. They say the lone turkey appeared in their park around Thanksgiving of 2021 and hasn't left since, becoming more aggressive as the months go on.

"This turkey has literally taken over our life," Coon Rapids resident Rachael Gross said.

Gross says she lives in fear of going outside, thanks to her neighbor, a wild turkey, who seems to have taken a liking to her property.

"This turkey attacks me every single day. Follows me, goes up my stairs, tries to get into my house. When I leave in my car, it follows my car," she said.

The wild turkey has attacked people, pecked at tires and chased cars.

"I have to carry my broom and my water and my golf club everywhere I go," she said.

Emily Ahlsten worries about the kids who live in the mobile home park.

"My 1-year-old grandbaby just moved in with us, and I'm afraid to even take her outside especially when the weather gets warmer, like we can't have people over, we can't have a barbecue," Ahlsten said.

"The kids that walk to the bus stop in the morning, I have to come out and help them. But now they are smart and they carry sticks," Gross said.

Ahlsten and Gross say they've reached out to the Department of Natural Resources who offered them suggestions, including removing bird feeders or chopping down branches where the turkey nests. While they've taken down their bird feeders, others still have them up inside the mobile home park.

According to the Department of Natural Resources website, "The best defense against aggressive or persistent turkeys is to prevent the birds from becoming habituated in the first place by being bold to them. Everyone in the neighborhood must do the same; it will be ineffective if you do so only on your property. Each and every turkey must view all humans as dominant in the pecking order and respond to them as superiors rather than subjects. Habituated turkeys may attempt to dominate or attack people that the birds view as subordinates."

"It's not safe for anybody, including the turkey, so I would just like it to be relocated to a place it could be with other turkeys and not be a nuisance to people or potentially hurt somebody," Ahlsten said.

On relocating wild turkeys, the department says, "Trapping and relocating 'nuisance' turkeys is not an option. The methods used to trap turkeys in remote areas are often impractical or ineffective in urban or suburban areas due to safety or disturbance. Released turkeys may also continue their inappropriate actions where they are released or may move substantial distances to other suburban sites."

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Kirsten Mitchell

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