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Massachusetts’s Wild Turkey Population is Rapidly Increasing

The nation’s inaugural Thanksgiving dinner was held in the state where it is currently being challenged by an expanding wild turkey population. The state’s wildlife authorities estimate that there were roughly 1,000 birds in 1978. The number of birds is currently thought to be between 30,000 and 35,000.

Wild turkeys are “an important natural resource in Massachusetts,” according to state officials. They fall under the category of game birds for which hunting seasons have been set. Associated: Surprisingly healthy holiday meals for your dog.

In her most recent documentary, “Turkey Town,” local filmmaker and photographer Aynsley Floyd examines the population increase while considering the advantages and drawbacks of hosting the birds. Floyd stated on Boston Public Radio, “I grew up in Massachusetts and I don’t remember ever seeing a turkey in the ’70s and ’80s.

It turns out that the return of turkeys in the area is a really intriguing conservation success story, so it peaked my attention and I did some study on the subject. According to conservation officials, wild turkeys have “black to blackish-bronze with white wing bars, blackish-brown tail feathers, and a blueish-gray to the redhead.” Wild turkeys are known as “hens” when they are female and “Toms” when they are male.

The birds are active during the day and spend the night in big trees to protect themselves from predators. However, they can occasionally be a pain. According to experts, wild turkeys are much faster and stronger than the ones that end up on Thanksgiving tables. In order to advance in the social hierarchy, males in particular are compelled to act physically aggressively, and they occasionally perceive people as possible rivals.

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Over the past few years, complaints about unruly turkeys have increased in Boston and its surroundings, giving police and health authorities summoned to handle issues a headache. A wayward turkey obstructing traffic is frequently the only complaint, but in some instances, turkeys got so aggressive that police said they had to shoot them for the safety of the public.

Some locals have had minor injuries from the birds, including a 72-year-old woman who reported to police that she was bruised after being attacked by a group of turkeys while out for a stroll. According to wildlife specialists, a large portion of the issue can be attributed to locals who throw out food for turkeys, luring flocks to the area and assisting them in surviving the winter. Los Angeles served as the source for this research. Contributing was The Associated Press.

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