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Turkey Trouble Continues On Staten Island As Relocation Plans Stall

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – There's still plenty of turkey trouble on Staten Island, where plans to relocate the wild birds haven't been able to take flight.

They can be spotted walking in the crosswalk on Nugent Avenue and standing in front of the hospital, rooting for food.

Wild turkeys strut their stuff on Staten Island on Oct. 7, 2019. (Credit: CBS2)

Some resident relish their presence and capture the foul in the action. Others find these feathered friends creepy and want them gone.

"They just freak me out. I don't like birds," Bradley resident Allen Jacob told CBS2's Vanessa Murdock.

He says he has to pass by turkeys "all the time."

"Some of them are daring, you know? They fly at you. They spread their wings," he said.

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"I lived six years down in Florida and we had alligators, so to have a turkey march around really doesn't bother me that much," Ocean Breeze resident Tracy Vosburgh said.

Wild turkeys strut their stuff on Staten Island on Oct. 7, 2019. (Credit: CBS2)

Bob Demarest says the big birds give the area a nice country feel, but there are some problems.

"When they kinda camp out in your trees and poop all over your yard, then it's an issue," he said. "It happens a lot here."

His Mustang is covered in droppings.

Demarest says he wouldn't mind seeing the population reduced by relocation, which was the plan.

The flock was supposed to be moved to And-Hof animal sanctuary in the Catskills using funding secured by City Council.

"I don't know what the hold up is. It's a bunch of red tape," Demarest said.

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Wild turkeys strut their stuff on Staten Island on Oct. 7, 2019. (Credit: CBS2)

According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the sanctuary was non-compliant in properly containing the turkeys on site, telling us And-Hof "must add overhead fencing to ensure the birds are no longer free to fly" or clip the wings.

"They stop traffic early in the morning, all day long, and they make a mess," said Maria DeMeo, of Dongan Hills.

She says she'd like to see relocation happen "as soon as possible."

CBS2 reached out to the owner of And-Hof and he was confident he'd have the necessary equipment in place in four to six weeks.

Council Minority Leader Steven Matteo reached out to the governor for help to break through what he calls a bureaucratic logjam. He says the turkeys are "unwelcome neighbors."

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