UPDATED Talking turkey
Updated with new photos, 1:22 p.m. April 1
Our drizzly walk to school Monday morning offered an unexpected sight: A wild turkey perched on a neighbor’s roof.
As I returned home about 10 minutes later, the turkey was scurrying up Bay Street toward busy Central Avenue. But by the time I got my camera it was too late: The fleet-footed turkey – one of a pair, according to a friend who told my husband she’d seen them Sunday morning on Bay Street – had trotted away.
Crab Cove Visitors Center naturalist Michael Charnofsky told me wild turkeys aren’t a common sight here in Alameda, though he said they have become prevalent in some parks up in the Oakland hills (they’re not deep-woods birds, but prefer mixed forest and chaparral). Charnofsky said populations of the bird have grown in recent years, forcing them to spread out to look for food.
Charnofsky said the turkeys are “pretty brave” but not aggressive, and while they are capable of flying, they prefer to walk. The folks from the National Wild Turkey Federation say the bird can run at speeds of up to 25 miles per hour and fly at 55 miles per hour.
Charnofsky also said that Ben Franklin was fascinated with turkeys and that they almost trumped the bald eagle to become our national bird.
He said he doesn’t think the the turkeys, who eat seeds and bugs, will stay here long unless someone decides to take on the task of feeding them.
“I can’t imagine them surviving here,” Charnofsky said.
UPDATE: Thanks to Jack Boeger and Donna Eyestone for checking in with their turkey sightings, and for being a little quicker on the draw with their cameras!
UPDATE, 4/1: Here’s another reader photo from Ernie, who spotted turkeys at San Jose and Park Street on the evening of March 15.