A United States Post Office worker says he had to get a hip replacement after he was attacked by turkeys in Massachusetts last month.
Eddie Mitchell, 49, told NBC Boston he was delivering mail in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in March when a group of turkeys approached him.
"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."
"I was horrified when they came flying in my face," he added.
On foot, wild turkeys can reach speeds of up to 18 mph, and they can fly at speeds of up to 50 mph, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Neighbors heard Mitchell screaming and rushed to help, NBC Boston reported.
"They were sitting there acting like they wanted to be near him some more," neighbor Theda Skocpol said. "I think they were attracted to his mail bag."
After the incident, Mitchell said he couldn't stand up and couldn't feel anything. He was taken to Mount Auburn Hospital, where he was told he would need to have hip replacement surgery.
"I couldn’t believe it," he told NBC Boston.
He told The Boston Globe he started walking about two weeks after the incident, but needs to use a walker for balance.
Stephen Doherty, a strategic communications specialist for the USPS, did not comment on the incident but said in a statement to TODAY.com turkeys have been known to attack letter carriers.
"Turkeys can sometimes be aggressive and territorial and this can sometimes be a nuisance for letter carriers when they block their vehicles or chase them off of a property where their protecting their young," Doherty said. "Fortunately, these encounters rarely result in injuries."
Doherty added pets are a far larger threat to delivery personnel.
"By keeping pets restrained during delivery hours, homeowners can dramatically reduce the number of dog bites that occur annually," he said. Hundreds of mail carriers are bit by pets each year, he added.
Mitchell told NBC Boston he and other mail carriers have complained about the turkeys in Cambridge for about a year.
"They chase all the mailmen around," he said. "They chase our trucks. They peck at the wheels of our trucks."
Mitchell added he is hoping for a speedy recovery so he can go back to delivering mail, including on the same route where he encountered the turkeys.