[TN-Bird] Wild turkeys take to cities.....(BOSTON GLOBE)

  • From: Dthomp2669@xxxxxxx
  • To: Flabirding@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, tn-bird@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 23 Oct 2007 11:03:10 EDT

.  After my stroke, When I was in rehab at the Stallworth on the  Vanderbilt 
campus in Nashville last February, a turkey ran from behind the  building, 
down the sidewalk, across a busy street, through a bank parking  lot and up 
a residential area that abuts the hilltop near  the reservoir on Love Circle.  
It was about 6 AM, before traffic got TOO  wild, so guess he was safe for 
that morning anyway.
Dee Thompson
Nashville, TN
Turkeys take to cities, towns

A wild turkey strolled along a sidewalk on Beacon  Street in Brookline. The 
birds can grow to weigh roughly 20 pounds and  stand 4 feet tall. (Globe Staff 
Photo / Mark Wilson) 
By Keith O'Brien, Globe Staff  |  October 23, 2007 
BROOKLINE - On a recent afternoon, Kettly Jean-Felix parked her car on  
Beacon Street in Brookline, fed the parking meter, wheeled around to go to  the 
optician and came face to face with a wild turkey. 
The turkey eyed Jean-Felix. Jean-Felix eyed the turkey. It gobbled. She  
gasped. Then the turkey proceeded to follow the Dorchester woman over the  
Line train tracks, across the street, through traffic, and all the  way down 
the block, pecking at her backside as she went. 
"This is so scary," Jean-Felix said, finally taking refuge inside  Cambridge 
Eye Doctors in Brookline's bustling Washington Square. "I cannot  explain it." 
Notify the neighbors: The turkeys are spreading through suburbia. Wild  
turkeys, once eliminated in Massachusetts, are flourishing from Plymouth  to 
Concord and - to the surprise of some wildlife officials - making  forays into 
densely populated suburban and urban areas, including parts of  Boston, 
and, most recently, Brookline. 
Some Brookline residents have welcomed the birds, happy to see wildlife  
strolling amid the nannies with $300 strollers and Trader Joe's shoppers.  But 
many others worry what the keen-eyed, sometimes ornery birds might do,  
as many as a dozen calls to the police department every day. 
"Some people are getting very upset," said Brookline police animal  control 
officer Pierre Verrier. "One of the biggest things is, they're  afraid. They 
don't want the turkeys to get hurt. And the other thing is,  they're afraid of 
the turkeys around their children. They don't know what  they'll do." 
As such, Brookline police issued a statement last month, telling  residents 
what they should - or should not - do if they meet a wild turkey  in town. The 
basic advice: stay away from the turkeys.  But still, people keep calling 
police headquarters to  report the strangest sight: Turkeys in downtown 
* * * 
July 20, 9:31 a.m., Rawson Road: Caller reports 18 turkeys in her  backyard. 
"Something must be done," caller says. "It's just not right."  Requests animal 
control officer. 
* * * 
Wild turkeys - the official game bird of Massachusetts - are impressive  
animals that can grow to be roughly 20 pounds and 4 feet tall. By 1851,  they 
been eliminated from Massachusetts, a victim of hunting. 
"We were turkey-less for many years," said Wayne Petersen, director of  the 
Massachusetts Audubon Society's Important Birds Area Program. "And  then we 
decided it would be quite nice to get them back on the  landscape." 
Efforts to revitalize the state's turkey population between 1911 and  1967 
failed. Then, in 1972 and 1973, the state Division of Fisheries and  Wildlife 
released 37 turkeys in the Berkshires. These turkeys survived and  bred. And 
between 1979 and 1996, wildlife officials trapped more than 500  turkeys in the 
Berkshires and released them elsewhere in the state. 
Biologists were pleased; today's turkey population in Massachusetts  lingers 
around 20,000. But Marion Larson, an information and education  biologist at 
MassWildlife, said officials had not counted on the turkey's  appetite for 
suburban - and even urban - living. 
"That was something that surprised us," Larson said. "Who knew? The  last 
time there were turkeys in Massachusetts there weren't a whole heck  of a lot 
This time around, of course, that is not the case, and turkeys have  proven 
especially adaptable to residential living. By his last count,  Verrier said, 
there are at least two dozen wild turkeys living in  Brookline, feeding off 
everything from bird seed to gutter trash and,  sometimes, scaring the wits out 
of the townspeople. 
* * * 
September 4, 11:01 a.m., Chatham Circle and Chatham Street: Caller -  who had 
gone under some beech trees to take a picture of turkeys - reports  four 
turkeys chasing him. Requests animal control officer. 
* * * 
The problem, according to some Brookline residents, is that the turkeys  can 
be aggressive at times. Dr. Ruth Smith, an internist from New York  City, was 
staying with a cousin in Brookline a couple of weeks ago when  she was stalked 
by what she describes as a 3-foot-tall turkey. 
"He came at me and, at first, I tried to shoo him away," Smith  recalled. "I 
figured I'd just go 'Shoo!' and he'd go. But he was very  aggressive." 
Smith said she escaped by ducking into the Dunkin' Donuts on Beacon  Street. 
But some of the hounded do not have the luxury of going inside.  Brookline 
postal carrier Rosanne Lane said she has skipped houses on her  mail route 
because turkeys dissuaded her from approaching. 
"They make a lot of noise and I just take off," said Lane. 
Under state law, an animal control officer can kill a turkey if it  creates a 
public safety threat. In 2005, for example, Canton police killed  three. But 
for now in Brookline, it has not come to that, said Verrier.  When dispatched 
to the scene of a turkey, Verrier offers advice  instead. 
He tells people not to feed them, not to be intimidated by them, and to  keep 
their distance. Still, some people cannot help themselves. They need  to be 
near the turkeys. 
* * * 
September 7, 7:39 a.m., Druce Street: Two packs of turkeys (15) in the  road 
. . . Two not getting along. 
* * * 
Over an eight-hour stretch last week in Brookline, a lone turkey walked  
Beacon Street, strutting at times, preening at others, and napping every  now 
again in the landscaping near the sidewalk. 
Most people did not even notice. And those who did simply edged a few  feet 
away from him and kept right on walking. 
But as afternoon turned to dusk - and the turkey, a male, moved down  Beacon 
Street into the heart of Washington Square - a crowd began to  gather. 
Some, like Jessica Dolber, snapped pictures. Others, like Kelly Stearn,  
called police. 
But not Kettly Jean-Felix, the woman who had been followed by the  turkey 
earlier that afternoon. 
When she finally left the optician's office on the corner just an hour  after 
being stalked by the turkey, she headed straight for her car. And  this time 
the bird did not notice Jean-Felix. He was too busy eating  peanut shells in 
front of the 7-Eleven  and gobbling to the delight of the crowd. 

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