The 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.
Once a Brush Turkey begins building a mound in your yard it can be very difficult to discourage. Here are some methods you can try:
- 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 placing chicken wire over any mulch or groundcovers, or try using a heavy mulch of pebbles
- Cover vegetable gardens with netting
- Provide an alternative mound site in a more appropriate part of the garden by creating a compost or mulch pile. The bird may be attracted to this and take it over as its new mound. An ideal site would be shaded by at least one large tree.
Brush Turkeys are protected by State legislation. It is illegal to harm or trap them without proper licences and approvals.