“I thought it would be a one-off thing... but we’ve become pretty well acquainted now,” postal worker Jeff Byrne tells PEOPLE 

By Morgan Smith
November 27, 2019 12:07 PM

With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, an unlikely friendship between a mailman and a turkey is capturing the internet’s heart.

A wild turkey has been chasing Jeff Byrne, a U.S. postal worker in Waukesha County, Wisconsin, during his route for over a month now, continuing the day before Thanksgiving.

“I thought it would be a one-off thing the first time I saw him following the truck, but we’ve become pretty well acquainted now,” Byrne, 42, tells PEOPLE.

In a video posted on Facebook by Byrne’s neighbor Sherry Michaels, the turkey can be seen slowly circling and sniffing at the truck, then running after it when Byrne drives away.

The turkey, which neighbors have jokingly named “Jeff,” continues to follow Byrne to each house he stops at.

“There’s different theories floating around the neighborhood, but we think he’s flirting with the truck or Jeff [the mail carrier],” says Michaels, 46. “He’s a very friendly guy, he loves the attention.”

turkey stalks mailman

The video has since gone viral, racking up more than 17 million views in one week.

Michaels says she has met many new neighbors through the post, who recognized the turkey and shared their own stories.

“I can’t believe he’s still going at it!” wrote one user, Amber Walker.

“We look for this turkey every time we drive through there!” commented another user, Kelly Gromowski.

Byrne has watched rabbits, dogs and other animals chase his truck throughout his 20-year career with the United States Postal Service, but this is his first turkey, he tells PEOPLE.

He suspects his feathered friend is part of a large flock of wild turkeys roaming the county.

And while the bird has never tried to attack the mailman, he spooked Byrne last week when he jumped up and flapped his wings as the mailman was walking to the truck.

Now Byrne carries a bullhorn with him during his shift, just in case.

“I worry about him,” Byrne says. “It’s hard to see who’s behind the truck, so I always check every one of my mirrors twice to make sure I don’t accidentally run him over.”

So would Byrne consider adopting Jeff as a family pet?

“I don’t think he and my dogs would get along much,” he tells PEOPLE, “but having him around has been a blast, especially before his holiday.”