2.5 min readBy Published On: January 16th, 2020Categories: Features0 Comments on Bold as Brass: The Southie Turkeys

Even with colder temperatures, the Southie Turkeys are still out in full force these days.  In this photo there are two chilling on top of a car on Emerson Street. The other one doesn’t have time for that nonsense. 

Thank you to Ruth who shared this photo taken on Wednesday at 2:30pm.

Here are some fun facts about the wild turkeys you see in South Boston.

From the Massachusetts Audubon Society’s website:

Wild Turkey can stand four feet tall, with a large, bulky body covered with bronzy, iridescent feathers. The tom (male) has a reddish-blue head and a hair-like “beard” protruding from his breast. The smaller female is duller in coloration than the male.

In the spring, tom turkeys make their famous gobble in order to lure in females. Courtship begins when the tom spreads its tail, fluffs out its feathers, swells out the facial wattles, and struts in front of the females. This elaborate dance may be entertaining for us, but the (turkey) ladies love it! Males are polygamous and will mate with several females if given the opportunity.

Turkey Precautions

According to the Boston Globe, the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife released some helpful tips if you come face-to-face with these – sometimes mean and aggressive – birds. No one wants a beef with a turkey, right?

Turkeys can act aggressively by pecking, following, or exhibiting other intimidating behavior towards people. More often than not, it’s the male (eye roll) that attempt to attach or dominate by puffing out their feathers or gobbling loudly.

What to do if you come face-to-face with a pissed off turkey

If you are being threatened by a turkey, it’s advised that you use a broom or a hose to scare them off. We’re thinking that might provoke them, but okay give it a whirl. Don’t have a broom or hose handy?  Just act loud and big.   Turkeys tend to dominate people they find as subordinate.

If you have a problem with turkey street toughs hanging around your property, it’s recommended that you try balloons, pinwheels, or Wacky Wavy Inflatable Tube Man. Evidently turkeys hate a celebration and will steer clear.  Actually, it’s because they are afraid of things that are moving around.

Don’t feed the birds

And what every you do, never, ever feed the turkeys. The globe article reports that giving turkeys food can lead to aggressive and or bold behavior. “once that is established in the birds, “it can be very difficult to change.” You certainly don’t want turkeys waiting around on your stoop look to be feed and then when you don’t have any food a physical altercation occurs.  Just don’t feed them.  That goes for seagulls too. 

Bottom line, treat turkeys the same way we treat a pack a teenagers, just cross the street and avoid eye contact.

You can see the full list of helpful turkey tips here.

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