OAKLAND (CBS SF) — A community in Oakland is rallying behind an ornery turkey whose foul behavior is forcing the hand of wildlife officials.
The Morcom Rose Garden in Oakland is a very pleasant and serene place until you run into Gerald. This large male turkey lives full time in the Rose Garden, usually somewhat tame but recently very aggressive.
“He just walked toward me and hit my hand, really hard! It really hurt! I thought he had broken a bone or something,” said park visitor Steve Maruta about an attack by Gerald that left him bleeding.
There have been multiple reports of Gerald attacking people over the past few weeks.
“It’s the very extreme end of an aggressive male turkey,” said Oakland Animal Services Director Ann Dunn. “So, there’s mating season, um, somebody has been feeding the turkeys.”
Mating season and a lack of fear of being fed by humans is believed to be some of the factors for his unusual behavior. Oakland is working with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to capture Gerald. Traps are set, sexy decoys stand ready. The plan is to relocate, not kill him. Folks say he’s been hiding for days.
Resident Ashkon Davaran knows Gerald well. “Gerald will jump at you and get you with the beak, you know, I knew pretty early on that I needed to back away but I’ve seen Gerald, really chase some folks around the park, especially the elderly folks, I worry about them.”
This afternoon I searched the park for Gerald but only found these hens and their large chicks. Gerald was nowhere to be seen. Despite the attacks, he is still liked.
“We love Gerald the turkey” said neighbor Lynn Polon. “Of course we don’t want anybody to get hurt but we also want people to understand that this is his home and how to act and treat wild animals.”
Meanwhile, until he is captured, a sign warns visitors not to feed or harass wildlife, especially turkeys.
Maruta is pretty understanding, “There’s been a number of attacks but I think it has to do with protecting his family.”