SCOTCH PLAINS, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – A massive turkey is pitting neighbor against neighbor in Scotch Plains.
Some say it is terrorizing them. Others say it is a friendly feathered face.
And the partial federal government shutdown has kept authorities from removing it.
Video taken by a resident on Roberts Lane shows the wild turkey jumping up and attacking a mailman working his route. The postal worker swats at the bird after being attacked to keep it back.
“He ran after the delivery people so we stopped getting mail and Christmas presents this year,” said resident Brianne Taylor.
Taylor told CBS2’s Meg Baker children have been chased by the bird at the bus stop.
“Whenever we come out our door, we actually carry a golf club because it’s the only thing that kind of shoos him away. So before we take the babies out in the carriers that weigh about 30 pounds, we come out first, walk around our car, shoo the turkey away, make sure he’s a safe distance and then go inside, get the babies to put in the car. And this happens every day,” Taylor said.
Others who wait for a bus to the city on the corner say leave the bird alone.
“Same place, walking around, doing nothing,” said resident Bidya Raman.
Raman said she hasn’t seen the bird attack or go after anyone.
“It’s kind of cute actually,” Raman said. “I texted my husband when I saw it the first time and wished him a happy Thanksgiving,”
Diane Carol – who supports the bird being there – told Baker it has been there more than a year.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the turkey has lost its flock and its fear of humans. The federal agency came out to catch the wild bird but had to call it quits when protesters got too close.
They were set to try to remove it again when the partial government shutdown intervened.
“The USDA, as represented by three young women and three county policemen, Union County policemen, came before Christmas with the intention of using a traquilizing dart and then taking him to Clinton,” Carol said. “Then the furlough happened and intervention of some sort. We were grateful, that was good timing.”
The USDA says the bird will have to euthanized because relocating it would only create another problem since it is attracted to humans. The agency suspects someone in the neighborhood must be feeding it and so it associates people with food.