Ask SAM

Q: I have friends who have two or three turkeys that have been knocking/pecking on their front door on different days. We were all joking they were coming for some fine wine or evening cocktails. Don’t know if they are still knocking.

G.V.

Answer: Well, they’re probably not trying to get an invitation to Thanksgiving dinner.

“We get these types of reports from time to time,” said James Tomberlin, a certified wildlife biologist with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.

“Usually it involves adult gobblers during the spring breeding season and chrome on vehicles, but also glass doors and windows where the turkey sees its reflection and responds to it as if it was another turkey,” he said. “Turkeys can be stubborn when it comes to this type of behavior, particularly since the reflection doesn’t back down and turkeys are defensively territorial.”

He said some of the best ways to discourage this behavior would be:

  • blocking the pathway to the door with plants;
  • placing yard art that is bright and moves, such as twirlers or windmills, in their path;
  • hanging something on the door such as Mylar tape that would disrupt their refection and protect the area they have been pecking.

“The success of these ‘exclusion’ type tactics is usually increased when harassment is used in combination,” Tomberlin said. “Swatting with a broom, spraying with a water hose, and/or using an air horn may be effective. Don’t misunderstand, I’m not advising people approach wildlife, they should be viewed from a distance.”

Q: Where can I dispose of old smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors? The 3RC EnviroStation will not take them.

R.D.

Answer: For the most part, the typical smoke alarm can be disposed of in your regular household trash, said Sabrina Stowe, senior community educator with the Winston-Salem Fire Department. The department does not have a policy or ordinance regarding disposal of smoke alarms and follows the recommendations of the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality.

According to that department, it is safe for a single household detector to be disposed of in a lined municipal solid waste landfill. For a large number of detectors, they recommend contacting a business such as Clean Harbors or Curie Environmental Services; there is contact information for them at the DEQ website, deq.nc.gov/conservation/recycling/general-recycling-information/special-recyclables/smoke-detectors, which also has a link to the U.S. Fire Administration’s guidelines on detector disposal.

Q: My car registration expires on December 31. What is the earliest date I can have the state inspection? I thought you could have the inspection done within 90 days of expiration, but I’m being told this is not correct.

D.B.

Answer: You should be able to do that by now. “A vehicle that is required to be inspected ... may be inspected 90 days prior to midnight of the last day of the month as designated by the vehicle registration sticker,” according to General Statute 20-183.4C.

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