Sir Jive Turkey, casually crossing Market Street at Apgar in the middle of the day (February 2013). photo by jarios

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.


Two out of a group of six turkeys at Morgan & Barner, observed on Thanksgiving morning 2014.turkeys in Montclair
photo CC-A from Our Oakland
photo CC-A from Our Oaklandturkey feather in Mountain View Cemetery
photo CC-A from Our Oakland
Turkeys in Fruitvale 11-6-13 photo by Yudron Six turkeys 40 feet up in a tree on 36th Ave near Foothill Blvd in Fruitvale. (uncredited) Closeup. (uncredited)Turkey fight at Mountain View Cemetery, Photo by Pipi Ray Diamond. See more at and BMW on Eucalyptus Road Photo by/courtesy of Doug SovernTurkey and Frosty the cat on Eucalyptus Road
Photo by/courtesy of Doug Sovern
photo CC BY-NC 2.0 by Ken-ichi Ueda, Montclair, 2009

Turkey on the roof in Longfellow (March 2015) photo courtesy of LCA member) Turkeys in a Longfellow backyard (March 2015) photo courtesy of LCA member)

Gerald reads a sign at the Morcom Rose Garden

Turkey Sightings

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.

Time/Date Location Details
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

10 turkeys

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 ?
2014-03-16 Eucalyptus Road  
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:

For cross-LocalWiki-solidarity check out turkeys on Davis Wiki :)

Links and References

  1. Wild turkey on Wikipedia
  2. Like It or Not, Wild Turkeys Proliferate in East Bay KQED November 27, 2015
  3. We need to talk about Gerald Oaklandside November 20, 2020
  4. The Turkey InvasionEast Bay Express, November 5, 2014