Fairfield University’s 200-acre campus houses nearly five thousand Stags each year, but there are some notable non-students who have also made the university their home.

While most Stags arrive each fall and settle into their residences, those who have never left perch outside of the Barone Campus Center windows. They know it’s only a matter of time before they can once again try to blend in with the Stags and maybe, just once, catch a ride on the Stag Bus. 

If you haven’t already figured it out, these wanna-be Stags are our beloved campus turkeys. 

This isn’t the first time these friends of ours have gotten media attention; you might have seen this video that was posted by @FairfieldBarstool on Instagram, in which a Fairfield University bus driver chases a turkey outside of the BCC. Although allowing turkeys onto the Stag Bus would most likely lead to a terrible outcome, there are many other alternative ways to coexist. 

Stags, we’ve moved in for the year, but our friendly neighborhood turkeys never left. Since these turkeys seem to be here to stay, here are some do’s and don’ts to help you navigate relations with our feathered fellows on campus: 

Do: 

Give the turkeys their space. Keep a distance. Getting too close to a turkey may initiate aggressive behavior. 

Scare them off when appropriate. If a turkey is persistent in trying to get you and your friends’ food at an outside picnic table, try scaring it away first by waving your arms and making loud noises. Although turkeys can appear to be intimidating, they are usually timid and frightened easily. Avoid swatting at them unless necessary. 

Don’t:

Feed the turkeys. Feeding the turkeys may lead to “bold or aggressive” behavior, especially during breeding season in late March and early April, according to MassWildlife. It also can lead to the spread of disease, according to the DEEP Wildlife Division.

Show fear. When wild turkeys are accustomed to students and other humans, they can begin to lose their fear of people. According to MassWildlife, if they sense that you are afraid of them, they’re likely to exhibit dominant behaviors and aggression, seeing you as inferior to them. 

Here’s another fact that you might not have known: according to MassWildlife, a turkey perceives its own reflection as an intruder. So—when you see a turkey looking at itself in the BCC windows or some other spot around campus, it’s likely not admiring its beautiful plumage. Rather, it’s sizing up its competition.

Overall, the turkeys are a staple of Fairfield University. Whether welcomed residents or not, we all share a kindred love for Stag country…and that is a beautiful thing.

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