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10:35 AM Tue, Oct. 16th

Michigan man befriends wild turkey who moved into his yard

Mark Johnston says he’s the only person “Turkey” lets touch him. Garden City, Mich., resident Mark Johnston, 45, says this wild turkey showed up in his back yard about eight months ago during the last snow fall before the spring as the bird hangs out in Johnston’s backyard and side yard, Tuesday, July 31, 2018. A Garden City ordinance officer gave him a warning about having the bird on his property then a ticket. Although, when he made a phone call to the MI-DNR, they advised him not to feed or give the bird he calls, “Turkey,” any water to make it leave. The bird will probably leave on its own, but that he also needs to pay attention to Michigan wildlife laws. (Todd McInturf/Detroit News via AP)

Mark Johnston says he’s the only person “Turkey” lets touch him. Garden City, Mich., resident Mark Johnston, 45, says this wild turkey showed up in his back yard about eight months ago during the last snow fall before the spring as the bird hangs out in Johnston’s backyard and side yard, Tuesday, July 31, 2018. A Garden City ordinance officer gave him a warning about having the bird on his property then a ticket. Although, when he made a phone call to the MI-DNR, they advised him not to feed or give the bird he calls, “Turkey,” any water to make it leave. The bird will probably leave on its own, but that he also needs to pay attention to Michigan wildlife laws. (Todd McInturf/Detroit News via AP)

GARDEN CITY, Mich. (AP) — A suburban Detroit man who found himself facing fines after a wild turkey moved into his overgrown backyard has made friends with the large bird.

Garden City bans residents from keeping wild animals as pets. The city fined Mark Johnston $100 for harboring the turkey and another $100 for dumping brush at his curb after he cleaned up his backyard in an effort to get the 30-pound turkey to leave.

The city eventually dismissed the turkey ticket since Johnston wasn’t keeping the animal as a pet, The Detroit News reported. Johnston is still fighting the other one.

Meanwhile, the turkey remains in Johnston’s yard. Johnston said that as far as he’s concerned, the bird can stay as long as he wants.

“I have no kids. I’m in the middle of a divorce. I have no one at home,” said Johnston, 45, a tow truck driver. “He kinda keeps me company. It gives me something to come home to.”

Johnston previously hunted turkeys but said he’s given it up, considering his backyard guest.

Johnston’s neighbors don’t seem to have a problem with the turkey, which they said isn’t too noisy.

“It’s crazy. (But) if the turkey likes it and the guy likes it, leave them alone,” said neighbor Sandi Canning.

Wild animals can only be moved if they’re a nuisance or a threat, said Holly Vaughn, a spokeswoman for Department of Natural Resources’ wildlife division.

“He’s not holding it captive,” Vaughn said. “Technically, it’s a wild turkey and is free to go where he wants.”