turkey ga0443ad53 640

Postal Employees Attacked by Turkeys

06 Jul, 2023 Liz Carey

turkey ga0443ad53 640
                               

Richfield, MN (WorkersCompensation.com) – Government employees last month suffered attacks by dogs and apparently, aggressive turkeys.

According to police in Richfield, Minn., a letter carrier was recovering last week after being attacked by turkeys. On June 22, police reported that the letter carrier suffered only minor injuries to his hands, and some ripped up pants, after he was attacked by aggressive turkeys.

Apparently, being attacked by turkeys is a thing, the U.S. Postal Service said.

“Turkeys can sometimes be aggressive and territorial, and this can sometimes be a nuisance for mail carriers when they block their vehicles or chase them off of a property where the turkeys are protecting their young,” USPS said in a statement. “The safety of our employees is a top priority. We are treating this incident like any other animal attack, and if the carrier feels threatened or endangered, the carrier can suspend mail delivery until the situation is resolved.” 

This is the second turkey attack reported this year.

In March, a letter carrier in Cambridge, Mass., was attacked by two turkeys. The letter carrier said he is now recovering from a hip replacement that was necessary after the attack.

"I was horrified when they came flying in my face," Eddie Mitchell, who's carried the mail for roughly 20 years, recalled to NBC10 Boston.

He said that while the turkeys have been around for years, they have become more aggressive, and are becoming a problem.

"They started to gobble gobble," Mitchell said. "I was like, let me get back to my truck. I turned my bag to defend myself. I walked back to my truck and that's when they started making noises. Then they flew right in my face and knocked me over."

Mitchell said after the attack he couldn’t stand up and was in pain, leading to him being taken to the hospital. There, he was told he needed surgery to replace his hip.

Steve Doherty, a postal service representative, said not only confirmed the attack, but said that turkeys have been known to attack letter carriers.

"It's the hazards you don't expect, like the hose or rake under the leaves or the animal you've walked past 100 times without incident, that can take you by surprise. Turkeys, while sometimes docile, have also been known to be very territorial and can get aggressive if they feel threatened," Doherty said in a statement.

Mitchell said he and others have complained about the turkeys for about a year.

"They chase all the mailmen around. They chase our trucks. They peck at the wheels of our trucks," he said.

According to the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Wildlife, March through May is breeding season for turkeys and may increase their aggressive activity leading to pecking, following or other intimidating behavior.

In January of this year, people in a mobile home park in Coon Rapids, Minn., reported ongoing issues with a turkey.

"This turkey has literally taken over our life," Coon Rapids resident Rachael Gross said.

Gross told WCCO News she lives in fear of going outside because of the turkey. It attacks her every day, she said, and follows her, trying to get into her house. The turkey has attacked people, pecked at tires and chased cars, she said.

"I have to carry my broom and my water and my golf club everywhere I go," she said.

And in April of last year, turkeys attacked pedestrians on a walking trail in Washington, D.C.

DeDe Folarin said he was attacked on the Anacostia River Walk Trail in D.C., near the Kenilworth Gardens, about a mile away from the National Mall.

“It was a scary situation,” Folarin told WSLS at the time. “Just riding along the path this gigantic turkey just jumps up towards my face almost knocked me off my bike then proceeded to chase me around for five minutes.”

According to wildlife experts, there is a turkey population near D.C. Officials said the best way to deal with a bird if it approaches is to back up slowly and move away. They have spurs and can fly, as well as run.

Folarin said he took video of the attack. When the turkeys stopped attacking him, they turned to attack a woman nearby.

“I put the phone down and picked up the biggest twig I could find and started whacking the bird twice feather. He kind of stepped off back into brush,” he said.

When asked why neither he nor the woman ran away, he said running wasn’t an option.

“They can be very aggressive and very fast, and you’ve just never been attacked by a turkey before,” he said.


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    About The Author

    • Liz Carey

      Liz Carey has worked as a writer, reporter and editor for nearly 25 years. First, as an investigative reporter for Gannett and later as the Vice President of a local Chamber of Commerce, Carey has covered everything from local government to the statehouse to the aerospace industry. Her work as a reporter, as well as her work in the community, have led her to become an advocate for the working poor, as well as the small business owner.

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