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    Brookline backs down: Don’t tussle with the turkeys

    Town officials in Brookline are telling residents to step up their game and give it right back to bully turkeys.
    Mark Wilson/Globe Staff/File
    Town officials in Brookline are telling residents to step up their game and give it right back to bully turkeys.

    Wild turkeys, maybe you can breathe a sigh of relief: Brookline officials are backing down a little bit on their “aggressive” language.

    With reports of cantankerous birds bothering people in this affluent suburb, town officials on their website told residents to step up their game.

    “Wild turkeys have a ‘pecking order’ and people who act fearfully will be treated as subordinates,” Brookline officials wrote on the town’s webpage Thursday. “Being aggressive toward wild turkeys is recommended by State wildlife officials.”

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    But — whew! — the feisty wording on the town’s website had changed by midday Friday to: “Being aggressive toward wild turkeys is not recommended by State wildlife officials.”

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    Town officials could not be reached for comment about why they had inserted the word “not.”

    But the town continued to recommend: If you’re approached by a turkey, step toward the turkey with confidence. Whatever you do, don’t back away or turn your back toward the bird, the posting says.

    Officials also suggested several options on how to scare turkeys away. Among the many methods are: “making noise (clanging pots or other objects together); popping open an umbrella; shouting and waving your arms; squirting them with a hose; allowing your leashed dog to bark at them; and forcefully fending them off with a broom.”

    The Brookline Police Department is asking residents to report any sightings of “threatening wildlife” by calling 617-730-2222.

    Emily Sweeney can be reached at esweeney@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @emilysweeney.