Brush turkeys moving into suburbia

THEY'RE moving into suburban backyards, raping chooks and trashing the lovingly landscaped native gardens of well-heeled householders.

Experts say the once rare native brush turkey could go the way of the ibis and become a permanent fixture of the suburban environment.

And they here on the Coffs Coast.

“Brush turkeys ... are really making a success of their move into the suburbs,” says Associate Professor Darryl Jones, a wildlife biologist at Queensland's Griffith University.

“In the last five to six years they've gone from no one even knew what they are to everywhere - especially places like Brisbane, Gosford and the northern Sydney suburbs.”

Jones says the natural range of brush turkeys, from Queensland's Cape York to Wollongong south of Sydney, hasn't changed. “But what's really interesting, it's not in the wild country where they're doing well, it's in the towns and the suburbs; that's where they're exploding.”

While this is good news for brush turkeys, it isn't so good for residents, many of whom are finding themselves hosts to an unwelcome, and often inconsiderate, guest.

Their move into suburbia is causing “huge problems,” says Jones, because of “the incredible damage” they are capable of doing to people's gardens. Males build what are basically huge compost piles of up to four tonnes of garden material in which eggs are incubated.



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