Wild turkeys have been a strange but common sight in suburban and even urban areas in metropolitan Boston for some time, but some residents of nearby Brookline say the birds are becoming more common and increasingly aggressive in their town.
Emily Spieler, a Brookline resident for eight years, told ABCnews.com that it wasn't until around two years ago that she and her husband saw a turkey in their neighborhood.
"And there were a couple of them," Spieler said. "In our backyard."
Spieler described the area where she lives as the urban and densely settled end of Brookline, very close to the center of Boston.
Brookline police say complaints about wild turkeys in the town have doubled in the past two months, according to CBS Boston. One officer said he spends nearly every morning protecting students at Brookline High School from the turkeys.
"I've had them come after me," Brookline resident Jocelyn Guggenheim told ABCnews.com. "I cross the street to avoid them and I've never done that around a wild animal, even though I grew up in the woods."
Guggenheim said the birds often crowd sidewalks and both she and Spieler said the turkeys have caused several traffic jams by grouping together in the middle of busy intersections.
Massachusetts has an obvious connection to the turkey. It was in the commonwealth where the Pilgrims landed and later held the first Thanksgiving. Accounts vary on whether the Pilgrims and Native Americans shared turkey that day, but species meleagris gallopavo was hunted out of existence in Massachusetts by the mid-19th century.
Successful reintroduction efforts have brought the state's fall turkey population to around 20,000 birds. And such population growth definitely shows as more and more people encounter the birds.
Towns around Boston are beginning to respond to the problem by holding town meetings and informational sessions and hoping to find a solution to the nuisance birds.
Experts agree that the best way to avoid a confrontation with a wild turkey is to steer clear of it if possible, to not be intimidated and spray water at the bird if available.
- Living Nature
- Brookline High School
- Wild turkeys
- metropolitan Boston