BOSTON (CBS) – What would you do if you came face-to-face with one or more menacing turkeys?

MassWildlife officials are offering some tips to the public as reports roll in about wild turkeys acting aggressively across the region.

Related: Aggressive Turkeys Becoming A Problem, Police Warn

The agency says turkeys “may attempt to dominate or attack people they view as subordinates.” This behavior is most common in the fall when young male birds start competing with elders of the flock, experts say.

So if you’re cornered by a belligerent bird, MassWildlife says it’s important to not let the turkey intimidate you.

“Residents can threaten a bold or aggressive turkey by making loud noises, swatting it with a broom, or spraying water from a hose,” their tip sheet says.

And man’s best friend can help too, as another tip notes that a leashed dog can ward off turkeys.

There are also a number of ways to prevent turkey attacks before they happen.

No. 1 on the list is to stop feeding turkeys because that can lead to bold and aggressive behavior.

“Once bold behavior is established, it can be very difficult to change,” MassWildlife says.

It’s also a good idea to take down bird feeders if your town is having turkey issues.

Wild turkeys. (Image credit: MassWildlife)

Turkeys can also respond aggressively to shiny objects like car windows, mirrors and polished car doors. MassWildlife recommends covering the reflection if possible.

Finally, experts say you should call police or animal control immediately if you think a turkey could be a public safety threat.

Comments (6)
  1. YaFen Shen says:

    I can imagine wild turkeys can be pretty intimating. When I was four or so I was visiting a friend of my dad’s who raised turkeys, and even those things, which are immeasurably stupider than the wild variety–so stupid that you can’t provide water via a trough as they will drown themselves–managed to chase me until I climbed up a fence and my screams brought my father to my rescue.

  2. Shaun McDonough says:

    If you know there are turkeys where you’re going, a walking stick or umbrella to beat them off could help (can’t really see walking with a broom). Obviously a small caliber pest control gun would do the job too, but I can’t see carrying one unless you’re way out in the woods. A big (or aggressive small) dog will always do the trick.

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