Game wardens failed to catch wild turkeys before attacking Sacramento delivery driver
- US News
- December 4, 2022
- No Comment
Last winter, a postman was delivering in the Arden-Arcade neighborhood of Sacramento when he was attacked by a “particularly aggressive” and “massive” male turkey.
The porter, who was armed with some sort of stick, struck the turkey, killing it, officials with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife said.
There was reason to believe someone was feeding the neighborhood’s wild turkeys, which began attacking drivers and disrupting deliveries from the US Post Office, FedEx, Amazon, UPS and other carriers.
“I’ve been at this for about 25 years, so I know my way around turkeys,” said Capt. Patrick Foy, a spokesman for the department’s Law Enforcement Division, in an interview with The Times. “And I just looked at it and I was like, ‘Oh, that’s the biggest turkey I’ve ever seen.'”
The incident at the end of February was the culmination of a conflict between turkeys and delivery workers that had been smoldering for months. Internal documents and video provided to the Sacramento Bee show wildlife officials tried to intervene for months before the incident, but were unsuccessful.
The US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service was called in to capture the wild birds. An agent “searched for the birds at least twice in early January but was unable to locate the perpetrators,” according to internal Fish and Wildlife Department documents.
Since the postman incident, animal welfare officials have discovered that a neighbor had been providing the turkeys with “copious amounts” of feed, Foy told The Times.
“It probably contributed to the enormous size of the turkey in question because it just ate an unlimited amount of food from that particular household each day,” Foy said shortly after the incident. “We are addressing this issue as an important factor contributing to this overall problem.”
The resident was told to “stop feeding these birds,” the bee reported. It was unclear whether the person could face a fine.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife reportedly received calls in October 2021 about turkey attacks on mail carriers. Officials advised against feeding the birds and suggested using tools like an open umbrella to drive them away, the bee reported.
“By mid-October it was apparent that the birds were not responding to normal ‘shooing away,’ and one of the postmen was injured in the hand,” the agency said in a report shared with Bee.
The agency sent members of its Human-Wildlife Conflict Team to the neighborhood to investigate.
Investigators seen in videos recorded by Foy were able to run straight at the turkeys, causing them to move away, but the birds were seen chasing a mail truck down the road, the Bee reported. Video obtained by The Bee shows two turkeys pecking and devouring a USPS truck while ignoring law enforcement and passers-by.
The Human Wildlife Contact team was then given permission to conduct an operation: killing up to four of the birds. But the clever birds escaped from the wildlife staff.
Two “captures in late October and early December were unsuccessful as the birds fled from staff,” the report said.
To date, no turkeys have been caught or killed.