Massachusetts Town Shares Self-Defense Tips In Case of Wild Turkey Encounters

by Keeli Parkey

Officials of a small town in the state of Massachusetts have issued a special advisory to their residents. Are they warning of an uptick in crime? No. Of fire hazards? No. Of traffic issues? No. They are warning residents to beware of an unusual pest – wild turkeys.

According to an article from the New York Post, the feathered fiends have been causing drama in the Massachusetts town of Wenham. The town has a population of 5,300. Specifically, the birds, especially the toms, have ironically been causing trouble on the town’s Pleasant Street.

Steve Kavanaugh, an animal control officer in Wenham, recently shared advice for dealing with wild turkeys on the town’s police department website. The best tip is – avoid the wild birds if at all possible. Another important piece of advice is not to be intimidated by a turkey that is aggressive.

Officer Offers Additional Tips for Dealing with Wild Turkeys

In keeping with advice from the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, Kavanaugh shared the following tips for dealing with wild turkeys on the police department website:

“Do not feed turkeys — they will become tame but could possibly have angry or wild outbursts.

“Keep all bird feeder areas clean — bird seed attracts turkeys and they will flock to the feeder if there is seed on the ground. Remove feeders in the spring as well, as birds will be able to find plenty of natural food.

“Protect your garden and crops — If you use a hose or make loud noises, turkeys that are stealing food will be intimidated and likely leave the crops alone.

“For aggressive turkeys, don’t let them intimidate you —You should threaten or scare bold turkeys using a hose, a leashed dog or loud noises.

“Cover windows and shiny objects — Turkeys will focus on their own reflection or shiny objects. In order to prevent that, be sure to remove shiny objects or cover windows.”

According to the article, there are approximately 35,000 wild turkeys in Massachusetts.

Also, according to the website of the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife: “The wild turkey is a strikingly handsome bird; black to blackish-bronze with white wing bars, blackish-brown tail feathers and a blueish-gray to red head. ‘Toms’ or male wild turkeys weigh about 16–25 pounds. They sport a hairlike ‘beard’ which protrudes from the breast bone. When a tom is strutting, its head turns bright red, pale white, or vibrant shades of blue. Females, called hens, are smaller, about 9-12 pounds, and are generally less conspicuous, typically dull brown with a blueish-gray head.”

The wild animals haven’t also just caused issues in Massachusetts. Recently, a fully grown female wild turkey was pulled from the bumper of a car after it was struck in Oregon. The video was posted on TikTok and went viral. It was a struggle to remove the bird, but once removed she fled into the woods.