SOUTH BEACH — The turkey hunt that's been capturing and relocating Staten Island birds is set to start in a new location.
Previously, the fowl have only been herded from the neighboring South Beach Psychiatric Center.
Workers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture will be allowed to capture and relocate the turkeys from the hospital grounds to the And-Hof Animal Sanctuary in Catskill as part of efforts to get the birds out of the borough.
"This could be a huge step forward in our efforts to end the longstanding issues posed by these wild turkeys," the City Council's Minority Leader Steven Matteo said in a statement.
"Going onto SIUH property gives us a real chance to bring down the turkey population before a new generation of turkeys is born, and ultimately reduce the turkey population in Staten Island."
Previously, workers were only able to put food and bait out for the turkeys on the grounds of the South Beach Psychiatric Center and not the adjacent SIUH grounds where their population flourished, Matteo said.
Officials hope workers will now be able to capture a larger number of turkeys.
"This will make the capture and removal efforts even more effective and hopefully help solve the problem," said Borough President James Oddo.
"An unchecked wild turkey population, while a novelty when it started, does negatively affect the quality of life for residents of these affected areas. This is an ideal solution for residents of the areas, as well as the turkeys who will live in a more suitable and pastoral location."
In 2014, the USDA started a controversial $16,000 cull of the flock — a mix of domestic and wild turkeys — that lived on the psychiatric center grounds after staff complained of health concerns over bird droppings, aggressive behavior and traffic issues caused by the fowl crossing the street.
After outcry from residents and politicians, the USDA canceled the cull and relocated the captured birds to two animal sanctuaries upstate instead.