Brush turkeys can be destructive in gardens as they remove vegetation, earth and mulch to create incubation mounds. These are up to 4m wide and 2m high. The female lays 18 to 24 white eggs and the young hatch after about seven weeks.
Deterring brush turkeys
Once a male brush turkey has started to build its mound, he will not stop. Spring is mound-building season, so be prepared earlier. No single method of deterrence has proved effective, but in a recently established mound you can try:
- pruning any tree shading the mound (mounds require over 85% cent shade)
- spreading a heavy tarpaulin over the mound and weighing it down
- placing chicken-wire just below your mulch to discourage the bird from raking
- protecting plants with tree guards
- placing pebbles or river gravel around trees to protect their roots
- removing open compost heaps (keep any compost in closed containers)
- laying palm fronds over vegetable gardens - brush turkeys do not like them
- building a scarecrow - an effigy of a human, cat or bird of prey
- placing some large mirrors around the mound - they will think it is a territory challenger
- diverting the bird's attention to a less attractive or valuable area of your garden by building a compost mound in a very shady location
- helping the bird stay close to his mound to stop him digging other parts of the garden by giving him plenty of compost nearby.
When nothing works
If these methods fail and you cannot adapt to the situation, contact your nearest NPWS office for further detailed advice.