"Most towns are troubled by geese," he said, "but in our town, we have people complaining about turkeys."
The town also has a law against feeding feral cats.
Carol Allison, who admits she feeds the turkeys that congregate in her front yard on Deacon Road in Hainesport, calls the turkey ordinance "ridiculous." She says she puts out bird feed each day, which draws cardinals, robins - and turkeys.
"It's nature," she said.
One year, she counted as many as 42 turkeys in her yard. In the winter, she said, she made a path for them so they could get the stale bread that she tossed out for them.
"It's never a good idea to feed wildlife," said Larry Hajna, a spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Protection. The animals then lose their natural fear of people and their ability to find their own food. A few may even become a nuisance.
In Hainesport, some residents said they have witnessed aggressive turkey attacks. The birds - which can weigh from 15 to 20 pounds - also have blocked traffic and chewed on car tires.
"They're dangerous," said Melanie Morton, who said she witnessed a couple of months ago a turkey repeatedly biting the leg of a jogger.
Costa said he was intimidated by a couple of big turkeys that "gave me the eye" when he went jogging. "These things look a lot bigger than the ones Mom used to stick in the oven, my God," he said, chuckling. "I kept running."
Normally, Hajna said, wild turkeys coexist with people and cause few problems. When they do create issues, DEP trappers are summoned to catch them with a net and take them to a more remote wildlife area. So far, a trapper sent to Hainesport has had no luck capturing the birds.
At the hearing on the ordinance, resident Gail Hillman said homes in Hainesport were close to a state park and a wetlands. She said that the turkeys were not a problem and that the ordinance was unnecessary.
"People come in from Philadelphia who've never seen a turkey . . . and they don't know how to handle them," she said.
Costa said the township was trying to address the nuisance issue. The ban may be difficult to enforce, he acknowledged.
"We're not going to hire enforcement officers," he said. "But it puts good citizens on notice that they shouldn't be feeding the turkeys."
Contact Jan Hefler
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