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Brookline Police: 'Don't Let Wild Turkeys Intimidate You'

The town's notorious turkey population is expected to increase in June as eggs hatch.

Wild turkeys seen congregating on Winchester Street in March. Credit: Susan Fried
Wild turkeys seen congregating on Winchester Street in March. Credit: Susan Fried
Brookline police this week publicized a detailed list of tips for residents to protect themselves against the town's notorious wild turkeys.

The birds' numbers are expected to rise in the coming weeks, as eggs typically hatch in the first week of June.

Wild turkeys have been the subject of countless complaints over the last few years. The birds have been known to charge at people and try to claw their faces.

Here are some tips from MassWildlife for dealing with wild turkeys:
  • DON’T FEED TURKEYS — Keep wild things wild! Feeding, whether direct or indirect, can cause turkeys to act tame and may lead to bold or aggressive behavior, especially in the breeding season.
  • KEEP BIRD FEEDER AREAS CLEAN — Use feeders designed to keep seed off the ground, as the seed attracts turkeys and other wild animals. Clean up spilled seed from other types of feeders daily. Remove feeders in the spring, as there is plenty of natural food available for all birds.
  • DON’T LET TURKEYS INTIMIDATE YOU — Don’t hesitate to scare or threaten a bold, aggressive turkey with loud noises, swatting with a broom or water sprayed from a hose. A dog on a leash is also an effective deterrent.
  • COVER WINDOWS OR OTHER REFLECTIVE OBJECTS — If a turkey is pecking at a shiny object such as a vehicle or window, cover or otherwise disguise the object. Harass the bird by chasing it, squirting with a hose or other means of aggression.
  • PROTECT YOUR GARDENS AND CROPS — You can harass turkeys searching for food in your gardens. Dogs tethered on a run can also be effective in scaring turkeys away from gardens. Netting is another option to employ. In agricultural situations, some scare devices are effective.
  • EDUCATE YOUR NEIGHBORS — Pass this information along: Your efforts will be futile if neighbors are providing food for turkeys or neglecting to act boldly towards the birds. It requires the efforts of the entire neighborhood to help keep wild turkeys wild. 

Alexandra Siwek June 25, 2014 at 07:35 AM
If you are already tall, raise your arms up to make yourself taller and more intimidating. The turkeys are afraid of something taller than they are.

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