Wild Turkey in Newton Booth

On Wednesday a wild turkey was spotted in the Newton Booth neighborhood…and not the sort you find at the Round Corner, but the feathered kind, at the corner of 27th and V in the field across from the old Newton Booth school. According to neighborhood resident Morris Lum:

"a turkey was spotted at the vacant lot at 27th Vst
it flew up the tree
and walked across the freeway ramp and back
he’s peck’n around the grass
watch out for the big claws

wed 6pm

I put out a plate of mashed potaoes and cranberries
for it to eat . . . : )"

Wildlife isn’t unknown in Midtown, mostly creatures like opossums, skunks, and the occasional raccoon. A wild turkey is something kind of unusual around here, and maybe a bit special. Ben Franklin once argued the idea that the wild turkey would make a better national bird for the United States than the bald eagle:

"I am on this account not displeased that the Figure is not known as a Bald Eagle, but looks more like a Turkey. For the Truth the Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America . . . He is besides, though a little vain & silly, a Bird of Courage, and would not hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his Farm Yard with a red Coat on."

Photos by Morris Lum

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March 12, 2009 | 10:17 AM

That is awesome! It would totally make my day to see a turkey strutting around Midtown.

A few months ago on a bike ride I saw a peacock. This was in a field next to the Panera in Elk Grove.

March 12, 2009 | 10:24 AM

Peacocks are a common sight in some parts of town: I see them often around Miller Park near the river when riding the “Sacrament Southern” trains, and where the south river road out of West Sacramento goes under the old Sacramento Northern trestle: I think the owner of a house near there raises them.

It’s kind of neat to be reminded that even though we live in a city there are wild things all around us.

Article Author
March 12, 2009 | 11:32 AM

I saw a turkey this morning while driving downtown. Last weekend at around dusk I also saw a family of turkeys going south and crossing Arden Way near the Highway 160 exit. The big turkey looked both ways before crossing the street. Then when the coast was clear, the whole family ran for it. They looked like they were following pedestrian traffic regulations! Unfortunately someone speeding off the freeway hit one of the little ones who was straggling.

March 12, 2009 | 12:24 PM

Around fair oaks, the wild turkeys are almost as numerous as the deer and roosters, and all three have become used to humans. They are more like feral pets than wild animals. What’s weird about the turkeys is that they get way up in the tops of the live oaks and gobble gobble. I always had the impression that turkeys couldn’t fly.

March 13, 2009 | 8:08 AM

At my auto repair shop just off of Greenback and Sunrise in central Citrus Heights, there was a quite facinating mating ritual between about 8-10 turkeys. The Toms were all ligned up on one side, “presenting” themselves by puffing out all their feathers – while the Hens were lined up on the other side. Quite a special moment – I need to get a digital camera. What always amazes me is how the turkeys know how do disapear around the endo of October, soon to reapear after the holidays! Of course there were a couple folks that were wishing they had their shot guns with them too! Which brings up the question of “harvesting” wild “urban” turkeys. I do not think there are any natural predators of these birds, and population control is a legitimate topic. Not sure what the official take on that is -

March 13, 2009 | 8:09 AM

BTW – I wish there was a spell check available

March 13, 2009 | 9:05 AM

Scott: Wild turkeys are considered a particularly wily and smart bird by hunters; cagey, tough to approach, and not easily fooled by lures or calls. It is actually turkey season, which might explain why they’re so visible this time of year. Maybe they’ve figured out that if they head downtown they’ll be safe from hunters, whereas out in unincporporated areas they risk becoming someone’s feast? Most cities have laws against firearm discharge inside of city limits (which only stops the law-abiding from doing so, admittedly) that would limit such freelance urban hunting opportunities.

Article Author
March 14, 2009 | 8:31 PM

I better look out, I did not realize it was turkey season!

March 16, 2009 | 9:07 AM

I nearly rammed a turkey with my Vespa last week on Howe Avenue near American River Drive. If we collided, I don’t know who whould have won!

March 21, 2009 | 8:00 AM

It is not turkey season yet! It starts in California March 28th. There have been increasing number of urban turkeys in Sacramento for a few years. I saw 8 on the corner of 23rd and “L” sts. recently. I see them often in Land Park and around Sac State.

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