Aggressive turkeys around Vinnin Square. (Swampscott Animal Control)
SWAMPSCOTT, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — Wild turkeys are everywhere this time of year, and while they seem to favor Swampscott, the people who live there don't seem to favor them.
It isn't unusual to see the birds strutting around town, but during their mating season from March to May, the males can get especially aggressive.
"They can get pretty territorial," one resident, Mariam, told WBZ NewsRadio's Shari Small. "It's actually pretty scary, to be honest with you, having a turkey come at you at full speed."
Daniel Proulx of Swampscott Animal Control said the birds frequently cause problems in Vinnin Square.
"The Swampscott Police Department constantly gets complaints about turkeys, especially blocking the intersection in Vinnin Square," he said. "There's a couple of aggressive ones that, if you use your vehicle to try to push them away, they're gonna peck at the vehicles."
Mariam said she usually encounters them in front of her favorite Starbucks.
"They go all the way across from the cemetery and cause traffic, cut all the way through Vinnin Square, usually hang out in front of the Starbucks, and then they make their way to Panera and then hit the golf club," she said.
Ron Mendez said a turkey prevented people from getting their morning coffee.
"I was going to Dunkin Donuts and I think a male turkey, I guess, was standing right in front of the door, not letting anybody in the door," he said.
Mariam said many people will stay inside the stores in the area until the birds are gone.
"People kind of give them their space to cross," she said.
Officials from the town's board of health recently shared a list of tips to help residents prevent conflicts with turkeys, which is also hosted on the Mass.gov website.
The tips include never feeding wild turkeys, keeping bird feeder areas clean, and covering gardens or crops with netting.
In dealing with aggressive turkeys, officials suggest residents scare them off with loud noises, water from a hose, or a leashed dog. They warned that turkeys can peck at their reflections in shiny or reflective objects, so those objects should be covered.
Overall, they wanted people to know they shouldn't be intimidated by aggressive birds.
"Once bold behavior is established, it can be very difficult to change," the tip sheet read. "Don't hesitate to scare or threaten a bold, aggressive turkey with loud noises, swatting with a broom, or water sprayed from a hose."
WBZ NewsRadio's Shari Small (@ShariSmallNews) reports