Once upon a time, there were no turkeys in Massachusetts…at least the feathered version. That has all changed over the past 20 or so years, in one of the unsung wildlife management success stories of of our lifetimes.
“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.
Now there are over 20,000 birds across the state, and they’ve shown an interesting ability to adapt to both suburban and even urban living. With predicatable consequences…
“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 Brookline.
Okay, now I know you’re thinking how lame these folks must be to be frightened by a little old turkey. Check out this video:
As they say, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade…
Or just call your local professional animal removal specialist…(sorry, Regan’s not local for Massachusetts residents…but he’s a great guy, recently featured on Mythbusters, and we’re working on a new site for him…)