(CBS Sacramento) – What would you do if you came face-to-face with one or more menacing turkeys?
Wildlife officials are offering some tips to the about how to protect yourself from the birds that are plentiful throughout our region. According to the California Department of Fish & Wildlife, the valued game bird can be found in 18 percent of the state.
But turkeys can become aggressive during the breeding season, occasionally even charging, threatening, and acting aggressively toward people. Turkeys “may attempt to dominate or attack people they view as subordinates.” This behavior is most common in the fall when young male birds start competing with elders of the flock, according to MassWildlife.
If you’re cornered by a belligerent bird, it’s important to not let the turkey intimidate you.
“If confronted by a wild turkey that has lost its fear of humans, an open umbrella may help steer it out of your path,” the California Department of Fish & Wildlife tip sheet reads.
And man’s best friend can help too, as another tip notes that a leashed dog can ward off turkeys.
There are also a number of ways to prevent turkey attacks before they happen.
No. 1 on the list is to stop feeding turkeys because that can lead to bold and aggressive behavior.
“Some homeowners can’t resist feeding them. That’s when trouble begins. A few stray visitors soon become a flock of permanent residents that have lost their natural fear of humans.”
You should also remove bird feeders.
“If turkeys begin feeding under hanging bird feeders, remove the feeders until the turkeys leave the area.”
Turkeys can also respond aggressively to shiny objects like car windows, mirrors, and polished car doors. MassWildlife recommends covering the reflection if possible.
Finally, experts say you should call police or animal control immediately if you think a turkey could be a public safety threat.
You’ll need a permit to kill wild turkeys that are causing property damage. To get a permit, contact a Regional CDFW office.