Brush Turkey

Brush Turkey smaller.jpgThe Australian Brush Turkey lives on the east coast from Cape York to Illawarra. They are very easy to spot, with distinctive red heads, bright yellow necks, wattles and dull black plumage with grey-tipped feathers on the breast. Brush turkeys can reach 70cm in length and, though usually ground-dwelling, are capable of flying into trees to roost at night or escape danger.

Residents have reported an increase in the Brush Turkey population in Ku-ring-gai over the last few years. While this is wonderful news for our local wildlife, they can be a nuisance for residents as they sometimes scavenge food or build large nesting mounds in backyards.

Turkey mounds

Disturbance of Turkey Mounds or any native species or its’ habitat on council owned land is prohibited. If a Brush Turkey is starting to construct a mound on private property and causing you concern, Here are some methods you can try: 

Once a Male Brush Turkey begins building a mound in your yard it can be very difficult to discourage. 

  • If the birds haven’t laid their eggs yet, cover the mound with a heavy tarpaulin and weigh it down to prevent the mound from developing.
  • Stop the turkeys from scratching up your yard by using a heavy mulch of pebbles.
  • Covering vegetable gardens with netting.
  • Pruning any tree shading the mound (mounds require over 85% cent shade).

  • Protecting plants with tree guards.
  • Placing pebbles or river gravel around trees to protect their roots.
  • Laying palm fronds over vegetable gardens - brush turkeys do not like them.
  • Building a scarecrow - an effigy of a human, cat or bird of prey.
  • Placing some large mirrors around the mound - they will think it is a territory challenger.
  • Diverting the bird's attention to a less valuable area of your garden by building a compost mound in a very shady location.

Brush Turkeys are protected by State legislation. It is illegal to harm or trap them without proper licences and approvals.

Wingtag Project - Royal Botanic Gardens

A research project is currently under way at The Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney that involves wing-tagging Australian Brush-turkey’s within the Sydney region, Australia. Their aim is to learn about Turkey’s behaviour: site-loyalty, population size and foraging, roosting and breeding habitat preferences. Wingtags allow them to identify and learn about individual birds. They encourage everyone who sees a Turkey with wingtags to report their sighting using the Wingtags app – even if it’s the same bird day after day.

In addition to reporting wingtag sightings using the Wingtags app we are asking you to report sightings of Turkeys, their communal nocturnal roosts and their breeding mounds to brush.turkey2@gmail.com.

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