Environmental update: Here are a few tips on living with turkeys
It’s that time of the year when local wild turkeys become nomadic, forming large, foraging groups and wandering around larger sections of town. Turkeys can be fun to watch, and they help to keep pests like slugs and snails out of the garden. However, they can also behave aggressively, tear up landscaping in search of food, leave a mess on sidewalks and pose a traffic hazard when crossing busy streets.
Here are some ways that you can help to reduce conflict with wild turkeys:
- Do not feed turkeys.
- If you have a bird feeder, keep the area below the feeder clear of fallen seed (this is helpful to avoid attracting other unwanted visitors as well).
- If turkeys begin feeding under bird feeders, remove the feeders until the turkeys stop visiting the site. This may take several days to weeks.
- If turkeys are causing problems in your yard, consider installing motion-detecting sprinklers.
- Wild turkeys typically will not enter yards with dogs.
- If confronted by a wild turkey that has lost its fear of humans, an open umbrella or walking stick may help steer it out of your path. Turkeys can be intimidating but rarely make aggressive physical contact with humans. Be assertive and dominant. Let that turkey know you’re in control.
- Avoid sudden stops or swerves when encountering turkeys in the roadway. If safe to do so, slow down to 10 mph and proceed. The turkeys will move out of the way.
For more information regarding the city’s turkey management plan, visit CityofDavis.org/City-Hall/Urban-Wildlife/Wildlife-Management-Plans.
Down the drain reminders
Winter holiday meals mean tempting smells and tasty treats. But did you know sink drains, even sinks with a garbage disposal, are not built to handle waste, especially organic waste? Help avoid expensive and messy backups by ensuring that waste goes in waste bins. Only water should go down sink drains.
Fats, oils and grease might seem like liquids when you’re done cooking with them, but when flushed down toilets or poured down drains, some will solidify. This can build up over time and block the plumbing, leading to sewer backups in homes, onto streets and into local waterways. Clogged sewer lines can lead to expensive plumbing maintenance for you and the city. Pouring hot water or soap down the drain will not help — it can only break up the grease temporarily. Small amounts of cool and hardened fats, oils and grease can go in your organics cart. Larger amounts should go in a container and be placed in the trash.
Residents can recycle fats, oils and grease at the free hazardous waste dropoff at the Yolo County Landfill, every Friday and Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Residents also can bring medications, cleaning products, paints, pesticides, fluorescent bulbs and other hazardous wastes for free and safe disposal. For details, visit DavisRecycling.org.
Irrigation and sewer rate reminder
Landscape water needs decrease in the fall with shorter days and cooler temperatures. As the weather cools, reduce irrigation by eliminating a watering day or two each week or by shortening each watering cycle. Consider turning off your irrigation system for the winter if you have winter-dormant plants. Water with the weather—turn your irrigation system off when it rains and keep it off for 48 hours after a rain event.
Reducing the amount of water you use in the winter may reduce your water and sanitary sewer bill. Sanitary sewer rates are adjusted on an annual basis, based upon your average winter water use from November to February. By minimizing your winter water consumption for irrigation, you can reduce the amount of water actually going to the sewer and reduce your water and sewer bills.
Find more water conservation tips at SaveDavisWater.org.
Holiday waste reduction tips
Aim for zero waste and green your holidays by reducing, reusing and recycling.
- If you are having a party, place clearly labeled recycling and compost bins where guests can easily see them. The City has downloadable waste-sorting signs available at DavisRecycling.org.
- Choose reusable gift boxes or bags instead of using wrapping paper. Save the bags, boxes, ribbons and bows to use again next year. Internet sites such as Pinterest have all kinds of fun ideas for re-using wrapping paper or eco-friendly wrapping ideas.
- Recycle wrapping paper and gift boxes that can’t be reused.
- Reuse tissue wrap or recycle it in your organics cart.
- Donate your unwanted electronics to a local charity or thrift store. If they are broken, recycle them at the Yolo County Central Landfill or any Goodwill Donation Xpress locations for free.
- Choose rechargeable batteries for your new electronics.
- Buy products made from recycled materials and products that have minimal packaging.
- Give the gift of an experience — concert tickets, restaurant gift cards or a spa wild turtreatment.
— Jennifer Gilbert is a city of Davis conservation coordinator; this column is published monthly. Reach her at JGilbert@CityofDavis.org.