Just weeks before Thanksgiving, wild turkeys are taking a bold stance in a New Jersey neighborhood, reportedly terrorizing humans, breaking windows and pecking at cars.
Several local media outlets have spoken to the fearful residents of an over-55 community in a township named, coincidentally, Toms River. (A male turkey is called a tom, though that’s not why the town has that name.)
“I can’t get out of my door,” one person told News 12. “Sometimes I can’t get out of my car. They go to attack you.” The individual was not named in the story, presumably out of fear of retaliation from the turkeys.
Another local woman, Donna Scala, told TV station WPVI the birds are damaging property.
“They’re pecking at our roofs,” she said. “Our brand new vehicles? They’re pecking at our vehicles.”
Scala wants the birds to be “moved,” and suggested finding a “big property, hundreds of acres of property” where they could roam.
The turkeys typically show up around dawn and dusk. It’s unclear exactly how many there are, though some reports say they are traveling in rafters of dozens of birds.
While some residents have been complaining about the turkeys, others appreciate their presence.
“They come around, say hi,” one person told CBS New York.
And although mail carriers and turkeys have traditionally not gotten along, local mailman Stephen Triolo doesn’t seem to mind the big birds.
“They do their thing, you do your thing,” he told WPVI. “You’re not trying to get in their way.”
Plus, humans, as a group, appear to be the original instigators here.
Ross Licitra, executive director of the Monmouth County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, blames the confrontations on overdevelopment, noting to radio station NJ 101.5 that the turkeys have lost their own homes to humans. He also said the turkeys are “harmless.”
To deter the wild turkeys, experts recommend tactics including making loud noises, opening and closing umbrellas and blocking reflective surfaces, since male turkeys can sometimes be aggressive towards their own reflections.