WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — Residents and travelers along Buffalo Road in West Des Moines have noticed some wild critters wandering about the neighborhood.
“A couple have been hanging out here since some at least February 2021. Two Tom’.s I’ve kind of nicknamed Fred and Barney,” said Patty Newbury, who watches the pair from her office at Valley Optical. “They have a girlfriend that hangs in the back once in a while her name is Wilma and they’re usually here every day they hang out and they eat in the grass.”
The pair of turkeys have been known to walk in front of cars going down Buffalo Road and they’ve been known to chase people who get too close.
“I have a lady that got angry when I told her not to feed them,” said Newbury. “If you feed them they’re going to become dependent on that and then they’re going to get upset if they’re not being fed.”
The West Des Moines Police agree with that. In a post about the birds on their Facebook site they gave some tips for being safe around the wild turkeys:
- If they’re acting aggressive or coming towards you, the Iowa DNR recommends waving your hands or whistling.
- Don’t feed them!
- Don’t slow down or stop your car! (If they see their reflection in your car, they think it is an opposing turkey and will start to peck or attack your car)
- Don’t pet them!
West Des Moines Police also ask people not to call 911 to report the turkeys. Newbury said what the DNR suggests does work, that if the turkeys approach, you can scare them away. “If I go out and I just clap my hands.”
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