Posted on: August 24, 2017

Dealing With Wild Turkeys

Turkey Symbol

Various town departments have received calls of sightings of wildlife (coyotes, wild turkeys, foxes, and deer). Reports have specifically noted wild turkeys behaving aggressively toward people. Learn the do's and don'ts of dealing with wild turkeys. It is especially important to share this information with students and caregivers as we approach the new school year.

Wild turkeys that become accustomed to human contact can cause damage and become aggressive. Turkeys may threaten people or simply be a nuisance. However, wild turkeys are protected under Massachusetts law. Several simple steps will help keep turkeys away from your neighborhood. In order to ensure success, no one should feed turkeys or other wildlife. Wild turkeys have a "pecking order" and people who act fearfully will be treated as subordinates. Being aggressive toward wild turkeys is not recommended by State wildlife officials.

If you are approached by a turkey:

  • Do not back away or turn your back
  • Step toward the turkey and act confidently

Again, do not feed the turkeys:

  • Do not leave food out
  • Use birdfeeders designed to keep seed off the ground or clean up fallen seed daily
  • Secure trash cans
  • Keep compost in an appropriate container

Scare turkeys away by:

  • Making noise (clanging pots or other objects together)
  • Popping open an umbrella
  • Shouting and waving your arms
  • Squirting them with a hose
  • Allowing your leashed dog to bark at them
  • Forcefully fending them off with a broom

Prevent roosting:

  • Squirt them with a hose
  • Use a motion activated device to scare them away
  • Use any of the above methods to scare them away

Protect your garden:

  • Use bird netting
  • Tie colorful mylar tape to stakes around your plants
  • Install a motion activated scarecrow

To report threatening wildlife, contact the Brookline Police Department at 617-730-2222. 

For questions on exposure issues related to wildlife, contact the Inspector of Animals at 617-730-2306.

More information on wild turkeys is available at: www.mass.gov/masswildlife

Notice to Residents Regarding Wildlife PDF
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