Glen Franklin on his patio which is slowly being invaded by bush turkeys
Glen Franklin on his patio which is slowly being invaded by bush turkeys JACK EVANS

Retiree battles to protect backyard from destructive birds

AS YOU approach Glen Franklin's Koongal home in the foothills of Mt Archer, the first thing you notice is an immaculate front lawn, a driveway swept clean, and a well-groomed garden bed.

The back yard is a different story.

Four years ago, a wild pig from surrounding bushland destroyed his back fence and dug holes in his lawn.

After a year of gardening, Mr Franklin restored the garden, but that did not last.

The 88-year-old retiree and former advertising professional at The Morning Bulletin, now faces the problem of bush turkeys scratching through his garden.

What was once a lush green lawn, he now described as a "back road in Beirut".


A hanging falcon ornament designed to scare away bush turkeys
DESTRUCTION: A hanging falcon ornament designed to scare away bush turkeys. JACK EVANS

He has lived in the Koongal house since he and his late wife built it more than 50 years ago.

Turkeys have always posed a problem to gardens in the area but Mr Franklin believed it had worsened in the past two years and was now "the worst it's been".

"I used to love my garden because my wife and I spent years making it what it was," he said.

The garden has patchy grass, muddy garden beds with tunnel-like tracks through plants, and ornaments such as hanging falcons to scare away turkeys.

It now "saddens" Mr Franklin to look at his backyard.

He said he no longer knew what to do and feared he had no choice but to let his backyard perish to damage caused by the turkeys.

He had raised his plight with a local councillor who said "I'll see what I can do" and Parks and Wildlife, who told him the bird was a protected species and was not a priority.

"People's property should be a priority," he said.

Mr Franklin said a six-foot fence and a dog were the only solution he could see, but after two falls, the pensioner was not up to such a task, nor could he afford it.

He said neighbours also had damage from turkeys and people leaving out food scraps to the turkeys were making the problem worse.

The bush turkey in question is a protected species and because it lives in surrounding national park, applying for a permit to have someone remove the birds is Mr Franklin's only, albeit costly, option.