Wild turkeys are at a record high in New England—but not all are thankful.
When turkeys were reintroduced about 50 years ago, no one dreamed the birds would thrive in the suburbs. And now, they’ve become a nuisance.
Amherst, New HampshireTed Walski knows this better than anyone: He’s the man responsible.
In 1975, the biologist for New Hampshire Fish and Game released 25 turkeys from the back of his truck in Walpole, a town in the western part of the state. It was part of a reintroduction effort to bring back a species that had been wiped out in New England before the Civil War, thanks to a one-two punch of vanishing forests and unchecked hunting.
“Originally, I never thought it would get beyond a few thousand turkeys,” says Walski, who’s still on the job 48 years later. Instead, New Hampshire’s turkey population has exploded beyond all expectations, and now hovers around 40,000 animals—the highest since reintroduction, and probably the most