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Urban Turkeys Are Wreaking Havoc in Boston

They may attack people they consider “subordinate,” officials say.

Springtime in Boston means swan boats in the Public Gardens, bars blasting WEEI all night, and wild turkeys getting up in your face. Over the past couple of months, the birds have been making themselves known throughout the city, strutting down sidewalks, rushing at pets and people, and generally being hooligans.

It’s gotten so bad, the Boston Globe reports, that the Massachusetts Department of Fisheries and Wildlife has sent out an explanation to residents, along with some safety tips.

“March through May is breeding season for wild turkeys, which means some turkeys may be seen acting aggressively,” the missive begins. In past years, Massachusetts turkeys have formed a gang in Foxborough, made life hell for a Cape Cod mailman, and forcibly attempted to attend Harvard University, among other locally relevant crimes.

Lovestruck turkeys may also “completely ignore the presence of people.” This second strategy was likely in play on April 6th, when two of the birds crossed six lanes of rush-hour traffic on I-95, forcing cars to swerve around them.

Other times, they just act plain weird. Those turkeys that got caught two-stepping in a circle around a dead cat in early March? Boston turkeys. Experts are still a bit stumped by that one, but think they may have originally been trying to suss out what they saw as a predator, and then got distracted by their own dance.

They also like to charge at shiny things. If they’re attacking something of yours—a motorcycle mirror; a buffed hubcap—it’s probably because they’re angry at their own reflection. This problem can be solved by covering the offending object.

And if it seems like they’re targeting you? “Turkeys may attempt to dominate or attack people that they view as subordinates,” the officials write. Best of luck with that, gentle Beantown soul.

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