You’ll remember my tirades about bloody bush turkeys. Well, all this time I have been trying to discourage them (or is it only one – they all look the same to me). I have had success in preventing them from building a mound and have gotten a lot of exercise in the process! But I have not yet managed to rid myself of them completely.
The most surprising thing is what was most effective in their deterrence. Would you believe a big green rubbish bin?!
To explain: In desperation I put all sorts of obstacles around the place to stop them scratching and nesting. I put a fence around the mound so they couldn’t get in, then I disturbed the mound, then I put a silver tarpaulin over it. All that helped, but didn’t stop them, and I had to admire their persistence.
Next I put down weed matting to stop them scratching on bare earth and mulch. That worked too. But they started scratching further into the garden and bringing earth and mulch from further away.
So I put a fence through the garden dividing it in half. That worked too. But they found a new place to scratch!
So I put chicken wire on the ground as a barrier over which they could not scratch. That worked too.
That only left the paddock next door and underneath the plumbago bushes – which I can’t fence. I have managed to cut down a lot of weedy bushes in the paddock and use them as preventives to scratching, but, like I said, I have to admire the turkey. They keep finding ways and places I haven’t seen.
Anyway, one of the obstacles I used to deter scratching was my rubbish bin. I put it over a place they like to scratch and also used it to create a barrier between the mound and they dirt they had scratched up for it. It worked – but much better than I thought.
The first time I moved the bin was to have it emptied, and, since the turkey(s) hadn’t been active for a few days I thought my troubles were over and I put the bin back where it belongs. Next day the turkey was back, scratching! So I put the bin back in position again. No turkey!
Coincidence? Maybe. Required further testing. Which I did yesterday. Took the bin out to the kerb and sure enough, this morning, turkey-lurkey was back. I put the bin back in position and – no turkey! At least, not near the mound – which it keeps desperately trying to get earth onto but cannot because of the fence.
So today I spent the day rushing in and out of the house chasing it away. Finally, I got really smart and waited for it to return (a matter of a few minutes) and then shoed it away. It got so that as soon as I moved a little it ran. Then, I only had to stand still and when it caught sight of me, it ran. Aha! Thought I.
For my next trick I got a pair of trousers and a white t shirt and put them on a coat hanger and hung them in a tree. So far so good. No turkey. Hopefully the clothes will move with the breeze.
The turkey is still in the paddock next door, scratching, I can hear him (it’s the male that builds the nest) but he’s not in MY yard.
So, the big secret is a green rubbish bin.
The second good tactic is to train the turkey to fear you (not hard), then impersonate yourself with a scarecrow.
I would prefer that it end up in someone’s casserole because the damn things will breed whatever I do, and protected or not, they are a pest. However, at least I can prevent my garden from becoming a breeding ground. I have plans for when breeding season is over (December).
There is also some good that has come out of this. The garden is well weeded. Everything that can be uprooted, has been so I am now rid of a particularly virulent creeper.
I also have a wonderful mound of top soil that I can redistribute around the garden when the time is right.
And when the mound scratching time is over, I am going to plant the whole area with some grassy, shrubby things that the turkey has not been able to scratch up – lomandra.