Turkeys

Turkeys say they have the right of way at the corner of Mechanic Street and Neponset Avenue in Foxboro.

FOXBORO — Rampaging turkeys are terrorizing Mechanic Street — having attacked or intimidated residents over the past couple of weeks — and so far have eluded capture.

Debra Sabourin says she was attacked by two turkeys Aug. 24 while out for a walk.

“The turkeys ran at me,” she said. “I started running.”

“I’m kicking at them. They’re not backing off at all. It means nothing,” she said.

The turkeys then backed her up against a tree in front of the house of Meg Nelson, where they continued their assault.

“One of them flapped his wings and then drop-kicked me,” said Sabourin. “He got off the ground and kicked me with both of his feet.”

That’s when Nelson came out of her house.

“I heard gobbles and screams,” Nelson said.

Both women retreated indoors, and Nelson hurled a pair of rubber boots at the turkeys, scaring them away.

Apparently, the neighborhood has been taken over by a “rafter” of three turkeys.

Sabourin said that two days later, the turkeys beelined toward her and her husband in their driveway as they prepared to go to work, and pecked at both her car and her husband’s truck.

Then on Sunday, Peter Foley reported seeing the same rafter of birds attacking an elderly man who had been knocked down on Mechanic Street.

People nearby were able to scare the turkeys off, after which the elderly man got into his car and drove away.

“These things are no joke,” Foley said. “If they ever did that to a little elementary school kid, that kid would be traumatized.”

Foley and Sabourin said the turkeys need to be removed.

“There’s bad apples, there’s bad people, there’s bad turkeys,” Sabourin said. “These turkeys are bad.”

Animal Control Officer Sue Thibedeau says she tried — so far, unsuccessfully — to round up the birds.

Thibeadeu said she used a big net and a “cat grabber” Tuesday, and called for assistance from the Norfolk animal control officer.

“They ran away,” she said.

Thibedeau has called in the Massachusetts Environmental Police, who say they’ll try humane harassment to frighten the turkeys.

The problem is they’ve become acclimated to humans, authorities say.

Turkeys have a pecking order of dominant and subordinate birds. As such, they apparently will bully even humans they feel are subordinate to them.

Thibedeau said she has learned someone in the area has been feeding the birds, and she will tell them to stop.

In the meantime, it’s not a good idea to run away from the turkeys.

“When people are intimidated by the birds and retreat, it makes them more aggressive,” she said.

Thibedeau said that she has not given up trying to capture the birds, although she’s not optimistic about her chances of success.

If she does manage to snare them, however, Thibedeau said she will have to kill them because state law forbids the relocation of problem animals.

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