Turkeys are part of Oakland wildlife.
They may be tasty to some, but these creatures are wild. They can be about 4 feet tall, and are not necessarily friendly. Referring to a North Oakland turkey dubbed Sir Jive Turkey, a Longfellow resident recalls that "legend has it he/she shredded someone's pit bull". Keep small pets and humans at a safe distance. The aggressiveness of Gerald the Turkey had the Morcom Rose Garden closed down for a while. 3
According to twitterer daviddebolt, if one calls the OPD about turkeys, they will not help you: "We don't pick up the turkeys, they are free to roam." [source] (this is true, not just twitter hearsay!)
Are turkeys bothering you? See What to Do About Wild Turkeys from the Humane Society.
It is not a good idea to relocate wildlife, and even though they're in Oakland, turkeys are wildlife. Let the turkey be—they will do their thing.
Besides the sightings listed below, there have been reports of turkeys in the Morcom Rose Garden, near Jack London Square, near Montera Middle School, near Dunsmuir House, and upper Broadway in Rockridge.
|2013-03-31||Skyline Blvd.||Taking a dust bath|
|2011-11-13||Old Tunnel Rd.||Seasonal refugee|
|2013-02-02, around 10:30am||Market and Apgar||Large turkey crossing market street|
|2013-02-03, around 9am||San Pablo Ave||Attending church (Sir Jive?)|
|2012-08-31||Gene's yard||Whole gang of 'em|
|2013-08-26||near Brubeck House||Standing in a driveway|
|2013-08-30||E. 30th Street||Chased by cat into my Bkyard|
|2013-09-05||Montclair||momma and a poult|
|2013-09-29||60th St and Idaho||
|2013-11-06||Fruitvale near Hyde||a pack of about 10 turkeys running down the sidewalk toward the BART station|
|2013-11-06||Mitchell near E 23rd||probably same pack of 9 or 10 turkeys hung out in my backyard for a few hours in the afternoon.|
|2013-11-10||36th Ave. near Foothill Blvd.||six turkeys 40 feet up in a tree! (check out photos above)|
|2013-12-8||Morcom Rose Garden||?|
|2015-03-17||Longfellow||Turkeys running around between houses on 41st St between Market and West|
|2015-03-22||Oakmore||Three turkeys blocking Braemar Road.|
|2015-11-10||Stanford & San Pablo||One turkey on the sidewalk of Stanford poking around in the bushes (looking for food, maybe). At least 3 ft tall|
|2016-06-29||Roberts Regional Recreation Area||Saw 1 turkey roaming the park|
History of Turkeys
Older folks remember a time before there were wild turkeys in Oakland and California. But before 10,000 years ago, there used to be wild turkeys in California:
The Californian turkey, Meleagris californica, is an extinct species of turkey indigenous to the Pleistocene and early Holocene of California. It became extinct about 10,000 years ago. 1
Meleagris californica went extinct in California about 10,000 years ago because of climate change. So why do we have wild turkeys now?
The present Californian wild turkey population derives from wild birds re-introduced during the 1960s and 70s from other areas by game officials. They proliferated after 2000 to become an everyday sight in the East Bay Area by 2015. 1
Learn more about other animals in Oakland:
Links and References
- Wild turkey on Wikipedia
- Like It or Not, Wild Turkeys Proliferate in East Bay KQED November 27, 2015
- We need to talk about Gerald Oaklandside November 20, 2020
- The Turkey Invasion, East Bay Express, November 5, 2014.