The good intentions of some area residents have led to some not-so-good outcomes on South Gilbert Street / Sand Road in Iowa City.
A flock of wild turkeys has taken up residence in the timber on the east side of Sand Road, north of the softball diamonds near the railroad tracks. Reports indicate that some people have begun feeding the turkeys or tossing food to them from their vehicles, which has created a dangerous situation for the turkeys and for other drivers, says Liz Ford, Iowa City Animal Services Supervisor.
The Animal Center has been fielding calls from concerned drivers who have almost hit the large birds after the turkeys wandered onto the road in search of food. This is a signal that the turkeys are beginning to depend on the food they’ve received from humans, causing them to lose their natural fear of people and forego their wild instincts. As a result, a potential for car accidents has been created that can injure people and property, and be fatal for the turkeys.
An instinctual wariness of humans is critical for a wild animal’s survival, Ford stated. Wild animals are also unpredictable and territorial and can resort to aggression if they feel threatened. This places people, especially children, at risk.
While it’s fun to watch wild animals, Ford emphasizes that it’s important to do what’s best for them. For their health and safety, she urges people not to feed the wildlife!