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Wild Turkeys Cause Nuisance Complaints in Sacramento, Bay Area

Al Gibes / Capital Public Radio

Photo taken on the American River Discovery Trail near the H St. Bridge.

Al Gibes / Capital Public Radio

California wildlife managers say they're getting a fair amount of complaints from people in Sacramento and the San Francisco bay area about wild turkeys.

The complaints run the gamut - turkeys are on people's cars, their rooftops, digging up their gardens. Some people are straight-up scared of them.

"You know it's kind of a large intimidating bird, if you've been no where near one before it's kind of scary, " says Scott Gardner, Upland Game Bird Coordinator with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

He says the population has increased since the state stopped releasing them into the environment for hunting fifteen years ago. He says turkeys are quite comfortable around people, and some urban areas make excellent habitat for them.

“We’re going to continue to have these turkeys in our towns. The best thing we can do is to try to make them not feel welcome in our homes,” he says.

Gardner says turkeys are difficult to manage in urban areas, but the state is handling complaints on a case-by-case basis.

Turkey icon designed by Christy Presler / Noun Project

This map shows where wild turkeys have been spotted locally. Do you have any turkey sightings of your own? Send photos of your turkey sightings and where they happened to community@capradio.org. You can also complete the form below.





Pauline Bartolone


Pauline Bartolone has been a journalist for more than 15 years, during which she was Capital Public Radio’s healthcare reporter from 2011-2015. Her work has aired frequently on National Public Radio.  Read Full Bio 

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