Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Turkeys looking for love in all the wrong places

Today I found this article in the News and Tribune and thought that this would be very fitting, considering that I have written in the past days a fair bit about turkeys and turkey hunting.


Turkeys looking for love in all the wrong places

Sure, eating turkey will make you sleepy, but seeing one should make you act crazy.
The colorful wild fowl on your lawn, front step or automobile might seem like a welcome distraction, but the feathered visitors have actually become something of a nuisance and, in some cases, a threat to North Shore homeowners, according to Massachusetts wildlife experts.

That’s because turkeys are especially aggressive this month as hormones drive them to seek a mate. However, as those who’ve endured a menacing, late-night subway wait, it pays to act a little crazy.

“Be a raving maniac out there,” advises Marion Larson, information and education biologist with MassWildlife. “(Turkeys) should run or fly off. I was doing it a few times this winter. I want them to be aware of me and other people.”

Turkeys will show their aggressive side this time of year and try to exert their dominance over other turkeys — real ones as well as their own reflection.

But animal lovers beware: playing nice and feeding turkeys could make turkeys think you are ... well, a turkey.

“It’s great to watch turkeys, it’s fun to see them, but our behavior will also influence their behavior,” Larson said. “If they don’t see people as a threat, (turkeys) could switch to thinking people are turkeys and they will run after people and peck at people. They need to put you in the pecking order, too. It happens every year.”

Marblehead police said they’ve responded to a number of calls from residents trapped inside their cars.

“Love is in the air,” quipped Detective Sgt. Marion Keating, “so we’ve been chasing turkeys all week.”

Marblehead police had two turkey calls Sunday — a Victoria Lane resident reported a wild turkey roaming the property, and a resident on Leggs Hill Road reported one blocking the driveway.

Keating said it is common for police departments to receive calls in March and April about turkeys either roaming on the property or “trapping” motorists in their car.
Should you become similarly detained in your car by a big bird pecking at its reflection, Larson says not to panic. Instead, even when there’s no rain in the forecast, keep an umbrella handy. When you open the car door, start unfurling and closing the umbrella repeatedly.

“Like the Penguin in Batman,” Larson said.
Don’t have an umbrella? Take a jacket and start flapping it around.
“You have to be aggressive and persistent,” Larson added.

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