This Turkey Is Making Life Hell for a Minnesota Town

Residents, including kids, now walk around with makeshift weapons to fend off 'terrorizing' bird
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 27, 2023 9:12 AM CST
Updated Jan 29, 2023 11:20 AM CST

The Minnesota town of Coon Rapids is known for its dozens of scenic parks, Golf Digest-recognized golf club, and renowned Mercy Hospital. Now, it's got a new claim to fame: a most troublesome wild turkey that's been menacing residents of a mobile home park for more than a year. People reports that the aggressive bird arrived on the scene sometime around Thanksgiving in 2021, and it's since been attacking people, chasing cars, and even trying to get into homes. The turkey seems to have taken a particular interest in resident Rachael Gross, who tells the Washington Post the turkey actually first showed up in the summer of 2021 with a bunch of other turkeys, then stuck around when they left a few weeks later. It "attacks me every single day," she tells CBS News of the "terrorizing" bird.

"Follows me, goes up my stairs, tries to get into my house," she says. "When I leave in my car, it follows my car." Video circulating online shows one woman appearing to try to scare the turkey off by spraying liquid at it, to no avail. "It's fearless of water, and seemingly of people, too," a WCCO report notes. That's why locals have now taken to carrying around makeshift weapons, including brooms and golf clubs, wherever they go. Even kids are now walking to bus stops with sticks in hand, just in case. Gross tells the Washington Post she also wears safety goggles when she ventures outside her home, as the turkey she first called Gladys, then Reggie, is often staked out in her yard. "I'm pretty stressed out and pretty anxious all the time," she says, adding, per CBS: "This turkey has literally taken over our life."

Some locals say they've reached out to Minnesota's Department of Natural Resources for help moving the turkey to a new habitat. It doesn't look hopeful, however, that Coons Rapids will be getting any help from the state anytime soon. "Trapping and relocating 'nuisance' turkeys is not an option," the agency's website notes. "The methods used to trap turkeys in remote areas are often impractical or ineffective in urban or suburban areas due to safety or disturbance." It adds that even if turkeys were to be relocated, they "may also continue their inappropriate actions where they are released or may move substantial distances to other suburban sites." Instead, the agency has recommended that locals get rid of bird feeders in their yards and trim branches so the turkey won't look for places to nest. (Read more strange stuff stories.)

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