Dozens Have Taken Up Residence In Dongan Hills Neighborhood, And Are Making Quite A Mess


NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Call it turkey trouble.

An unwelcome flock is more than a nuisance in one Staten Island neighborhood.

The city was supposed to remove the wild turkeys, but residents say it’s taking way too long.

The turkeys trot through front lawns and can be spotted in trees, rooftops and power lines.

It’s too much for residents in Dongan Hills, who say the big birds cause nothing but trouble.

“We get about 70 to 75 turkeys,” said Dongan Hills resident Frank Schifando. “They begin to defecate all over cars, sidewalks. As you can see the grounds, the lines are all ripped up. This problem has been going on for years.”

It’s only getting worse says Judy DePietro, who has lived her whole life on Burgher Avenue. She said now that it’s spring, the turkeys’ mating calls wake her up.

“They start gobbling at 6:30 in the morning, and then they fly down. They ruin the lawn,” DePietro said. “There were 40 on my lawn. They were on my banister. They were on my truck.”

DePietro said not only do they leave scratch marks on everyone’s vehicles, but also a mess on the windshields, and all over the sidewalks, making it impossible to step anywhere.

“We get them all on the roof, the back yard. My wife, she constantly cleans all this business,” said resident Guy Farella.

What’s worse, neighbors said, is they find dead turkeys lying around.

“This is a problem, and nobody wants to do anything about it. You tell the city, the city says it’s a state problem, and you can’t touch it because they’re protected,” said Schifando.

CBS2’s Natalie Duddridge reached out to Councilman Steven Matteo, who said he’s aware of the problem and is just waiting for the funding to come through to remove the birds.

Officials said that in the last several years, more than 150 turkeys have been captured and transferred to an animal sanctuary upstate in the Catskills. State funding for that program ran out, so Matteo’s office has allocated another $100,000 to move the turkeys. There’s been a delay, so for now, the turkeys are here to stay.

Wildlife experts estimate there are still around 100 turkeys in the borough that have made their home base in the Dongan Hills neighborhood.