THORNTON, Colo. (KDVR) — Off 124th and York in Thornton, a series of new, yellow signs warns drivers of a potential avian obstacle ahead.

But these “slow down” and “watch for turkeys” signs aren’t stopping the neighborhood birds from being struck, according to City Councilmember Karen Bigelow.

“They are getting run over,” she said. “And some of them are dying painful deaths.”

The flock of turkeys is now very much in the spotlight after a Wednesday altercation between so-called “Turkey Lady” Mary Ann Strauch and a driver, who says Strauch hit her car with a stick while she was helping the turkeys cross the road to roost near her home.

The Problem Solvers received multiple emails after the story aired, some voicing displeasure with Strauch’s actions and others supporting her for what she does every night.

A woman in a fluorescent safety vest with a stick herds a gaggle of turkeys across the road in the evening
Mary Ann Strauch, known in Thornton as the “turkey lady,” helps the neighborhood birds cross the road to roost each evening. (KDVR)

What’s the solution for Thornton’s wild turkeys?

Bigelow said she’s been pushing for the city to install more speed bumps in the area and to narrow the road to slow traffic where the turkeys cross. She’s also questioned whether they’d be safer in another location.

“What I was told is we can’t touch the turkeys, we can’t re-home them, because they’re wildlife,” she said. “I don’t understand why we can’t re-home these turkeys when we do re-home prairie dogs from development areas. What’s the difference? I’ve not been able to get an answer on this at all.”

Colorado Parks and Wildlife told the Problem Solvers on Friday: “CPW does not typically relocate birds due to their large migratory or flying range, even though turkeys aren’t known for their flying abilities. We usually only translocate big game species like bears, moose or mountain lions. This is done when wildlife venture into human spaces and we give them a hand to move them into better, more suitable habitat.”

Bigelow said she isn’t sure what the solution is but is worried more turkeys will get hit, and more accidents will happen as the area continues to develop.

“The residents in East Lake absolutely love having these wild turkeys here,” she said. “But I hate seeing any animal suffer, and I don’t like the fact that these turkeys are being killed and suffering on our roads.”