Turkey Time

Jeff Kirchman Portrait
Jeff Kirchman, University Apartments Community Police Officer

If you’ve lived in the Eagle Heights or University Houses area for any extent of time, you’ve probably met our growing numbers of turkeys. According to wildlife experts, our mix of nearby wooded areas, ample food supplies, and relatively low levels of natural predators is perfect for population growth. Most of the year, we all get along fine, and the turkeys add to the unique nature of our community. They even have their own Instagram page!

But, come spring, things change a bit. In short, love is in the air, and for several weeks between February and April, the mature male turkeys (known as ‘toms’ or ‘gobblers’) are biologically compelled to exhibit dominance and attract the attention of the ladies (hens). They can become more aggressive, but they don’t pose much real threat to adult humans.

Even so, it’s best – for both turkeys and residents – to avoid conflict during the spring mating season. Here are some tips for doing so:

  • Don’t feed them (turkeys, by the way, love the contents of most bird feeders).
  • Keep children and pets away from them.
  • If confronted by an aggressive bird, make yourself as big, loud, and scary as possible.
  • Shoo problematic poultry away with an item that won’t harm the bird, like a broom.
  • Don’t run away; a strutting tom may interpret that as submissive behavior and give chase.

Dealing with turkey mating season can be a bit bothersome, but it doesn’t last too long. In my opinion, it’s not a bad trade-off for the benefits of enjoying the company of these generally harmless and interesting birds the rest of the year.

Package Delivery Thefts, Revisited

I wrote an article, in a previous newsletter, about the increasing number of package delivery thefts in our community. I’m pleased to report that many residents seem to be following our suggestions, and these types of incidents appear to be decreasing.

Another tool I’ve been using to curtail bad behavior is a “bait box.” I place these packages, indistinguishable from real deliveries, throughout the community. When taken, I receive an alert, and get an opportunity to “meet with and educate” people about package theft.

As always, please alert me or UWPD any time you think a delivery was stolen.

To read the package theft article, please go to this link:

https://www.housing.wisc.edu/2019/12/porch-pirates/

Written by Officer Jeff Kirchman, University Apartments Community Officer (Email: jkirchman@wisc.edu, Twitter: @UnivAptsUWPD, (608) 219-4698), Office: 104H University Apartments Community Center.