Wild turkeys rise to stardom in small New Brunswick town


A small New Brunswick town’s fascination with a flock of wild turkeys has led the adventurous fowls to become local celebrities. The nine turkeys are travelling together, often spotted waddling through different areas of the town.Referred to as the “turkey gang” or the “Woolastook nine,” they’re frequently the talk of the town for a community of nearly 5,000.Sightings of the feathered flock fill the Facebook group “Grand Bay-Westfield N.B. Community Page.” Often residents share updates on the Turkey gang’s whereabouts, or which street they blocked traffic on that day. The flock of turkeys are often seen casually roaming the streets of Grand Bay-Westfield. Submitted: Lisa Wood Story continues below advertisement Of course, some residents feel the turkeys deserve an invite to Thanksgiving, but others believe they should become town mascots.As a lifelong resident of Grand Bay-Westfield, Heather Baxter had never seen wild turkeys roam the town’s streets — that is until about a year ago.For a short period, they went missing, only to turn up in her backyard.“I was upstairs, and I could hear a noise that I didn’t recognize as a normal bird, so I came down and looked, and I didn’t see them, but I saw all their prints in the yard,” Baxter, a resident of Woolastook Drive, told Global News Tuesday.“After that, they started to come pretty much on a daily basis.” Trending Now For Baxter, it’s been interesting to learn more about the turkeys and how trusting they can be. When the flock approaches her deck, she can often offer them food straight from her hands.“Well, the first time they did, I’m not gonna lie, it was a little scary, they have big beaks,” Baxter said laughingly.“Then after that, I would just go out with a handful of peanuts, and they would periodically come to me.” Heather Baxter said, at times, the Woolastook nine have been frequent visitors to her backyard. Submitted: Heather Baxter Ascension to local stardom for the Woolastook Nine has brought the community something highly coveted after previous pandemic years — a reason to smile. Story continues below advertisement “We needed to get our minds off some of the stuff we’ve been dealing with over the last few years, so might as well be something entertaining like a giant bird,” she said.Dr. Graham Forbes, a professor of wildlife ecology at the University of New Brunswick, said wild turkeys are not native to New Brunswick.They exist in pockets of the province due to illegal releases and travel from Maine.Forbes can pinpoint an exact reason for the turkeys’ big move to Grand Bay-Westfield, but he has a few ideas.“I suspect bird feeders are a big component because that’s a lot of easy food,” Forbes recently told Global News.“Any sort of agricultural rural area, especially with houses and if there’s bird food, I think that’s going to get them through.”New Brunswick, a province known for harsh winters, will likely prove to be troublesome for the turkeys, Forbes said.“With climate change, things will be getting milder, so it will be easier for them in the future. But, there will be some days and some winters where in quite a few of them will die.” 1:22 New Brunswick cat with ‘spicy’ attitude goes viral &copy 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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