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'Be bold' and 'show dominance to turkeys,' Bedford PD warns residents

The statement recommends that humans fend off the animals with a broom or other long object to assert their spot in the pecking order.
Catskills Animal Sanctuary

Bedford Police had an unusual message for residents there Wednesday: don’t take any crap from turkeys.

That’s right — the department put out an advisory encouraging residents to “be bold and show dominance to turkeys,” in light of “several reports of aggressive wild turkeys in town,” a statement from the department read.

“Wild turkeys are social birds, they live in flocks, which are organized by a pecking order,” the statement continues. “If wild turkeys become habituated to humans, they may treat them as subordinates.”

The statement recommends that humans fend off the animals with a broom or other long object that won’t hurt the turkeysor yourself.

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“Everyone in a neighborhood must have the same attitude towards wild turkeys for the dominance strategy to be effective,” the statement adds. “Each and every turkey must view all humans as dominant in the pecking order, otherwise they will view only selected humans as superiors and others as subordinates. Once this behavior is established, it can be very difficult or impossible to change.”

They aren’t kidding: take for example, this 2015 viral video, in which a Falmouth mailman says he is forced to bring a long, metal pole to fend off a daily turkey attack.

“Every day,” he exasperatedly says to the camera.

The department also recommends that you don’t interact with wild turkeys, encourage them onto your property or leave any food out that might attract them.

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