Wild Turkeys' Lurking Puts Boston Area on Edge Wild turkeys are roaming the streets of Massachusetts towns, even parts of Boston. The birds get up to 4 feet tall, weigh 20 pounds — and they bite. Pierre Verrier, an Animal Control officer in Brookline, Mass., advises residents to stay away from the birds — or "try to hit the turkey with your purse or something."
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Wild Turkeys' Lurking Puts Boston Area on Edge

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Wild Turkeys' Lurking Puts Boston Area on Edge

Wild Turkeys' Lurking Puts Boston Area on Edge

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G: Boston, Cambridge, Newton, Brookline.

A picture from the globe shows a turkey strutting its stuff down the sidewalk on Beacon Street. The birds can be up to four feet tall and weigh as much as 20 pounds.

Animal control officer Pierre Verrier has been fielding the harrowing calls coming into the Brookline police station.

PIERRE VERRIER: I have a Ford F150, and I have a very large, shiny bumper. You shall see them sometime when I come by, and just see, I stopped - and they will come by and picking at my bumper. They try to fight the bumper. They become very, very aggressive when they see anything shiny.

: When you get one of these animal control calls, because someone has seen a turkey, perhaps they'd been attacked by one or a turkey is chasing them down the street, what do you do when you get there? Do you round the turkeys up and take them out of town?

VERRIER: No. The state law of Massachusetts, we cannot remove them from place to place.

: Why is that?

VERRIER: Well, they are protected. And so all I have to do when I show up on a call that says they've been attacked by turkeys, I explain to them what they have to do, you know, try to stay away from them, you know, try to harass them, make them move.

: Can I just ask you, if you are being attacked by a wild turkey, while trying to just put a quarter in the meter or walking to the local pharmacy, what do you do?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

VERRIER: Well, you can't run. They will run after you. The best thing to do is try to hit the turkey with your purse or something. Make them move away from you.

: Is that, as the animal control officer, is that an official statement? Hit the turkey with your purse?

VERRIER: Well, it's - I will say, yes, it's official, because you have to defend yourself. As long you don't kill the turkey, it's good to scare the turkey away. If they try to bite you, they will hurt you. They will draw blood from you.

: Is there one particular turkey who's really been giving you the blues?

VERRIER: Yes. The one on Beacon Street. That's the one most people have been calling about because it's the main street. It goes from store to store, from the coffee shop, from Dunkin' Donuts. He stay around the general area there because he find a lot of food.

: Those wild turkeys seem pretty comfortable there in Brookline.

VERRIER: They are. They are very comfortable. People say, why are there so many turkeys in Brookline? Well, because they pay taxes in Brookline, so they are free to leave wherever they want.

: Well, Brookline's a nice play to live.

VERRIER: It is.

: Officer Pierre Verrier joined us from the police station in Brookline, Massachusetts. Thanks so much for taking time to talk to us.

VERRIER: You're very welcome.

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