7 On Your Side

Wild turkeys invade quiet Vallejo neighborhood

Friday, March 05, 2010
Wild turkeys invade Vallejo neighborhood Vallejo wild turkey

Feathery intruders have invaded an otherwise quiet Vallejo neighborhood and it is causing quite a scene. Depending who you ask, these two-legged creatures are either a menace or a pleasant addition to the neighborhood.

"He's going to attack a child one day, a small child," said resident Sandy Schady.

"I do like him, I do," said resident Jerri Smith. "That's what I was telling my neighbor."

A small crowd gathered to watch a wild turkey strut his stuff. He has been quite an attraction since arriving in east Vallejo almost five years ago. Normally he is with several hens and does what he can to protect his flock.

"I have young girls here living at home with my wife and I. They get out in the morning, going to school with their mother. Them turkeys are chasing them. They can't get in the car," said resident El Bennett.

"Mailman have wrote [sic] notes to us and to our neighbors over here on the right side saying we can't deliver because the turkeys [are] attacking," said Schady.

Even neighbors who like the turkeys acknowledge they can be aggressive and that scaring away the mailman is not a good thing. Yet they say the neighborhood would not be the same without them.

"I like having the turkeys," said resident Kia Kalama. "I like seeing a little bit of nature in a suburban area. I think it's cool."

"We love it. I feed them. I feed them every morning," said resident Sharon Nunes.

But the folks at the Oakland Zoo say feeding the turkeys is not a good idea.

"If you feed turkeys you can create a potentially dangerous situation," said Oakland Zoo curator Colleen Kinzley.

Kinzley says wild turkeys should not be domesticated and need to maintain their fear of humans. Just like in east Vallejo, the wild turkeys are an uninvited guest and just showed up in the zoo nearly five years ago. They quickly made the elephant compound and other areas of the zoo their home. These turkeys are not of the thanksgiving variety, but were introduced to California for gaming.

Back in east Vallejo, dissatisfied residents say they are not interested in hunting the birds, just relocating them.

"I don't want to kill the birds," said Bennett. "I just want to get them out of the neighborhood."

He says his calls to the California Department of Fish and Game have gone ignored. But the department told 7 On Your Side it is now looking into possibly capturing the turkeys with a cannon net.

"Oh my gosh, that would break my heart," said Nunes. "The first thing I do in the morning is get up and I do turkey patrol."

Tell us what you think. Should the Department of Fish and Game relocate these turkeys or let them be? You can leave your comments below.

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