By David Wade

BOSTON (CBS) – It’s a turkey takeover. Even at Thanksgiving it seems like wild turkeys are everywhere and that’s actually a conservation success story. That is because wild turkeys disappeared from Massachusetts about 160 years ago. Then the state brought them back, and that is why you just cannot get away from them.

WBZ didn’t have any trouble finding them Wednesday on the streets of Brighton. “I’ve seen them in Cambridge, I’ve seen them in Somerville, Brookline. There’s a ton of them in Brookline,” says one man who also says he gets a kick out of the feathery animals.

Wild turkeys in Brighton (WBZ-TV)

“We’re very confident in saying that turkeys are in every municipality in the state, with the exception of Nantucket,” says Dave Scarpitti, a wildlife biologist at Mass Wildlife, the state agency that manages wildlife in the state.

Dave says that in the mid-1800s there were no wild turkeys left in the state because of hunting and clearing forests for farming. “It’s believed that in 1851 the very last turkey was harvested in Massachusetts,” he says.

Read More: Learn About Turkeys | Living With Turkeys

But eventually the state decided to do something about that. In 1972 turkeys were captured in New York state and released in Western Mass. And get this, it all started with 37 birds.

Wild turkeys in Brighton (WBZ-TV)

“Today we estimate conservatively that there are 25-30,000 turkeys statewide,” Scarpitti says. In the country and in the city, it doesn’t matter to these guys.

Of course wild turkeys can become a nuisance, pecking at cars or even chasing people. Mass Wildlife says if they bother you, make noise and shoo them away. The best advice is to make sure there’s no food that they can get at. That way they won’t stay long.

David Wade


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