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The resurgence of wild turkeys from near extinction has become increasingly familiar in suburban America where flocks strut Main Street quite fearlessly and occasionally chase like galloping raptors after frightened humans. They are a protected species and seem to know it, intruding in flocks of a dozen or more wherever they please. Cute at first sight, then annoying, the birds are about to face “humane harassment” in the town of Teaneck, N.J., where officials plan to arm concerned residents with 20 air horns in self defense.
“They’re like gangster turkeys,” says Courtney Lopchinsky, a resident who told CBS 2 of a wild turkey crashing through her kitchen window at dinner time. “They terrorize kids at bus stops and chase people to their cars.” The Internet is filled with footage of these surreally comical confrontations.
Wildlife experts say the main culprits are tom turkeys on guard during the mating season. The toms have overseen the renaissance of wild turkeys from around 30,000 in the 1930s to an estimated seven million today.