New Jersey may soon be saved from the scourge of wild turkeys stalking its suburban lawns: The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection reportedly has a Big Plan for their removal, one that involves large drop nets and a bunch of corn — basically, a Looney Toons simulation plan, are you in?
The ToddFather, a.k.a. famous Toms River resident Todd Frazier, will doubtless be relieved to learn that the wheels of municipal action have ground into motion, as he has been personally victimized by the turkeys in recent days. In fact, it appears to have been Frazier's complaints that put this avian onslaught on a wider radar: Over the weekend, the former third baseman tweeted a photo of the birds circling and stomping on his SUV.
"They have come close to harming my family and friends, ruined my cars, trashed my yard and much more," Frazier tweeted on Saturday. He also told News 12 New Jersey that he "actually got attacked by a couple of them a year ago," yikes.
The problem has indeed been ongoing, as evidenced by the overwhelming response to Frazier's tweeted plea for help from the governor. Anecdotally, the turkeys are said to reserve special vitriol for black cars, and will menace anyone trying to exit one with particular ferocity. Theirs ranks number 40 to 60, they may bite, and recently, a gang of them burst through the windows at a Toms River retirement community. These birds just won't be tamed! And they are big: Males can grow to an estimated 20 pounds, and run at speeds of 20 mph.
"It’s disturbing,” Frazier told CBS New York. “You see the claws on these things. They’re no joke. Some people think it’s not that serious, but it really is.” Not to make light of the ToddFather's trauma, but for the record, turkeys don't have claws. They have "spurs," and talons for tree roosting.
But take heart, ToddFather: Help is on the way.
"The DEP’s Division of Fish and Wildlife staff responded to complaints about nuisance turkeys in Toms River over the weekend and met with the neighborhood homeowners association to gather information and create a plan for managing the turkeys in the area," reads a statement from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. "The DEP’s Division of Fish and Wildlife is actively working to trap the nuisance turkeys, which is the DEP recommended best practice for removing the turkeys from the area." This is where the corn comes in: The DEP did not say how much corn they might need, only that they would be laying strategic corn trails to lure the birds into their trap.
So! If you, a New Jersey resident, see little lines of kernels on or around your property, do not kick or otherwise disturb them! This is turkey bait. It may take a few weeks for the birds to bend their daily schedules to this new "feeding routine," but once they do — once they have been bamboozled into position — DEP workers will drop their nets, trapping the turkey pile for expedient removal.
The DEP did not disclose the turkeys' final destination, whether because they don't currently have one or because this is sensitive information that must be kept secret lest one of you endeavor to liberate the turkeys under a cover of darkness, we couldn't say. They did, however, warn against feeding the turkeys — this may only embolden them, and they are obviously too bold already — and offered this tip for self-protection: "The DFW advises residents to use a broom, garden hose, or air horn to scare the birds and reinforce their natural fear of people. Residents may also place cardboard over windows to prevent reflections. Tom [i.e., male] turkeys may see their reflection in a window and may try to attack it, thinking it is another Tom."
Does this plan sound ripped from the Wile E. Coyote playbook? In my personal opinion, yes, yes it does. But I also like the sound of it. So, Toms River, it appears the time has come to batten down the hatches. Board up your windows while these scamps move through town, or they may come crashing into your living room! (If that happens, please send vids and pics to email@example.com, thank you in advance and good luck.)