Is Brookline Surrendering in the War Against Turkeys?

From 2013: Brookline Police hunting for wild turkeys that terrorized citiziens.
From 2013: Brookline Police hunting for wild turkeys that terrorized citiziens. –David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe

Brookline is trying to find some sort of peace with the wild turkeys marauding through the town. On Wednesday Brookline Police circulated a list of tips for homeowners in how to deal with the wild turkeys. The list is a version of Mass Wildlife’s “Living with Wildlife: Wild Turkeys in Massachusetts,’’ and offers the following tips:


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.

The idea of a turkey attack may seem funny, but turkeys are really big, and if angered can give an adult quite the fight. In 2013, Brookline police captured and ultimately had to euthanize a tough-minded tom turkey, which was part of a flock that had terrorized schoolchildren and chased one mailman into a resident’s home.


One neighbor said he was accosted by one of the birds and swatted it hard with an umbrella, only to see the turkey bounce back and try to claw at his face for a second time. In May of 2013, a turkey smashed through the front window of a Brookline home. Back in 2012, a woman was cornered by three attacking turkeys, saving herself by jumping into a stranger’s car.

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