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Long Island Turkey Invasion Shows No Signs Of Slowing

Wayne Parry

Flocks of wild turkeys are swarming the backyards of homes in some Suffolk County villages. And their numbers are growing.

In the ‘90s, turkeys were almost completely gone on Long Island. Then the Department of Environment Conservation trapped 75 turkeys in Pennsylvania and relocated them to Suffolk County. 

Now Long Island is home to more than 3,000 birds with more little turkeys on the way.  

DEC Senior Wildlife Biologist Fredrick Hamilton says these birds populate well in the mixed habitats on the Island.

“The birds do really well in old growth, mixed habitat, so here in Port Jeff, Setauket, you have these North Shore communities with very well-manicured lawns, big oak trees, green areas, stuff like that, birds really like that habitat, and they do really well. That’s what we’re seeing as the population is basically expanding.” 

Wild turkeys have thick, dense feathers that allows them to maintain warmth and protection.  

These wild turkeys have exceptional eyesight, hearing and are quite athletic, too. They can run up to twelve miles per hour and are hard to catch and shoot because they are so intelligent. 

Wild turkeys are loved by some, but other residents believe they are a nuisance, because they hold up traffic. 

If you’re out in Suffolk County though, be sure to keep an eye out for one of these magnificent birds.