Bird LifePlant Systems

Talking Teds

by Zaia Kendall, PRI Sunshine Coast

Using a safe deterrent for bush turkeys…

A good friend of mine had a problem with a bush turkey (also called scrub turkeys, bush chooks and I am sure a number of other names not suitable for publication…). The bush turkey had decided to make a nest very close to his home, and he was not happy about that at all. After shooing the turkey away numerous times, whereupon it, of course, returned every time, he pondered the problem….

For some reason unbeknownst to him, the thought entered his mind that he should put his big teddy bear — Ted — on top of the turkey nest. He did, and lo and behold, the turkey did not return. Feeling a bit sorry for Ted, sitting out there in the weather, he pulled him off the nest after a while, and as soon as he did the turkey returned! As soon as Ted was placed back on the nest, the turkey stayed away.

After he told me this story it stayed in my mind, and when we had a problem with bush turkeys coming into our garden and destroying our vegetables and fruits, I set out to get some teddies at the second hand store. I came home with four teddies (they sell at the shop for around 50 cents each) and we proceeded to tie them up on the fences and gates around the veggie garden.
We have not had bush turkey problems since….

My friend told me that people do not believe him when he tells his bush turkey story, but I can tell you, teddies seem to scare the bush chooks and have kept our veggie garden safe so far! Do make sure they stay out of reach of puppy dogs, since they also seem to make a wonderful playmate for them….

Zaia Kendall

Zaia grew up in a family of musicians in Holland, and has a background in top sport and web development and design. She co-founded the PRI Luganville and PRI Sunshine Coast Inc with Tom, and runs all the background stuff, like finances, business administration, website design and maintenance, writes articles, records and edits videos and also organises the cooking and the kitchen on site. She has been researching and studying nutrition and health for 20+ years, has a certificate in Nutrition and continues to study by research, reading and daily observation. She is a certified member of the International Institute of Complementary Therapists and is a holistic food, health and lifestyle coach. She is also an active member of several musical projects and bands, involved in community music and runs occasional percussion workshops. Visit Zaia's website at DIY Food and Health.


  1. A very cool idea. Still, I can’t help but feel a little sorry for teddy. As they say though, it’s a dirty job, but someone’s got to do it.

  2. Hey Zaia,

    Top idea and 10 out of 10 for the successful teddy bear experiment! The turkeys look like they have very stong legs for scratching.

  3. We had a problem in our nursery with turkeys scratching around. Read this and decided to stick a teddy bear on a stick out on the nursery. Thanks for the article! Now the Koanga Institute has an anti-turkey teddy bear.

  4. I’ve had success with making a small woven fence circles around trees, top of the fence about 20cm higher than top of your mulch. The turkeys can still forage and scratch around but the mulch stays in one area.

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