Gobble gobble: Turkeys roam streets of Berkeley, Albany

A flock of turkeys roams the streets of Albany on Thursday. Photo: Neil Mishalov

Perhaps buoyed by the passing of Thanksgiving and Christmas — not that the wild variety is often to be found on the plate — turkeys are making their presence known on the residential streets of Berkeley and Albany.

The photo above was taken yesterday afternoon on Stannage Avenue near Dartmouth Street and shows more than a dozen wild turkeys contentedly strutting and grazing on the lawns and sidewalk plantings of Albany.

Below’s image shows another flock spotted in Berkeley on Monday.

What’s for sure is that these turkeys show no timidity in venturing into our neighborhoods. Quite the contrary: they make themselves comfortably at home — and, in doing so, provide an enjoyable divertissement for us human inhabitants.

Another group happily explored a street in Berkeley on Monday. Photo: dyannaanfang

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  • Bill

    These days people often forget what a real turkey looks like and assume they are all like the white feathered big breasted commercial birds they see being “pardoned” by the President.  Protected in this rural/urban interface from hunters they seem to be doing pretty well. 

  • ColleenNeff

    I saw a flock of turkeys crossing Solano Ave. last year. 

  • they are fun, but really dopey and aggressive.  be careful!

  • Anonymous

    Wow, I don’t know what’s more shocking: turkeys venturing into residential neighborhoods or Berkeleyside venturing into Albany! *smile*

  • On a meandering walk in central Berkeley the other day I discovered a house near the corner of Acton & Allston that has two enormous white turkeys, a bunch of chickens, at least one rooster, and either an emu or an ostrich living in their side yard.

    Really neat, and definitely worth taking a peek at if you’re in the area. Seeing a bird as large as the emu/ostrich living in someone’s yard in Berkeley really made my day.

  • Anonymous

    Solano Stroll?

  • John Holland

    Are you thinking what I’m thinking?!

  • Chris

    The owners are very cool. They let my little one feed them a few times. Definitely a great side trip with the tot lot up the street!

  • Bill

    That sure crossed my mind!

  • Everywhere I turn in this town I see turkeys…!!! Hardy had har!

  • EBGuy

    I hope it’s in Michael Pollan’s next locavore book — or on the menu at Gather.

  • John Holland

    good one!

  • BerkeleyTard

    Another introduced, non-native invasive species.  Tasty, too.

    Now we just need some feral cows roaming the hills to go with the poultry and pork.

    Yes, you can hunt these in town..  The methods may be somewhat restricted by city ordinance (put away your shotgun..), but by and large you just need to have a hunting license, tags and follow the F&G rules.

  • BerkeleyTard
  • Bruce Love

    re: Tasty, too.

    Ick.  What do you suppose those guys eat and drink?    I assume they don’t wander the foothills and flats for the exercise.   At the very least, skip the pate.

  • Berkeleytard

    Page 6 and 7 if you really want to know, or skip it if “ick” satisfies the extent of your curiosity and/or confirms your preconceived notions.

    Spoiler:  mostly grasses, plus some bugs.

    btw, Sciurus niger is another abundant, tasty and nutritious invasive.  Extra points if you can figure out how to incorporate oxalis in their preparation.

  • Bruce Love

    I don’t mean “what do turkeys eat” in general, I mean what do these ones we see on the streets of Berkeley wind up ingesting by virtue of where they forage (random garden chemicals, lead from multiple sources, oil, etc.).   Also, I’ve seen what the squirrels around here are capable of eating off the street and it ain’t pretty.   (After The Big One my standards might be lower :-)

  • berkeleykev

    Saw a big flock tonight at 5ish at the Ag site on Marin at San Pablo.  At first I thought they were the geese that are often there, but then I did a double-take…  turkeys.

  • libraterian

    Amusing. But with a price. Like their human counterparts, creatures that are noble and elusive in the wild wander into Berkeley, mistaking indifference for tolerance they end up scavenging in garbage cans and living on street.  Deer, crows, turkeys…etc. 

  • Sjohn Donaldson

    Yup, see these turkeys frequently on my Saturday morning runs. They seem to be looking for the local “chicken ranches” around here (free food you know). I live around the corner on Cornell down the block from this location. You’d also be surprised to know we have small Steelhead trout in Codornices Creek, the normal raccoons and occasional skunks not too mention coyote sightings on Albany Hill and I’ve also seen deer grazing late at night on the grassy BART median near Dartmouth and Santa Fe. Love the wildlife as do my kids. Hopefully the mountain lions stay in the Sierras. Here’s a couple of shots across from my house (courtesy of Michael Steinberg). 

  • Bruce Love

    Naturally, a story about turkeys is really a chance for you to stereotype down and out people and ridicule them.  Spreading hatred and polarization among the society of humans is, as any biologist can tell you, the main ecological niche occupied by Bekeley’s turkeys.

  • GC Acton

    The ostrich-like bird is actually a Rhea!  Kinda nippy though… don’t put your fingers through the fence.

  • Hatred and polarization. All good and well when Occupy is trying to pit the “99%” against the “1%” but terrible no good awful stuff when anyone else does it.

  • libraterian

    It’s a new year Thomas Lord aka “Bruce Love” and if Berkeleyside is going to put up with your crap they can explain WHY to their readers and their advertisers, each and everyone, because I’m  asking them now. 


  • Back in November — and before the most recent schlock-fest of a KQED pledge drive — PBS’s Nature had an episode about a man in the wilds of Florida who became the parent of a flock of wild turkeys by being the first creature that they saw after hatching (“imprinting”).  The program reenacts his experience and gives some excellent insight into the wild turkey behavior.  The camera work is superb and the story is compelling (turns out that it’s quite a commitment to raise a flock of turkeys).  The full episode is available on-line here:  http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/episodes/my-life-as-a-turkey/full-episode/7378/

  • Tiny Tim

    …and one should be aware of the very aggressive nature of some of the toms, as illustrated in the film Marc describes.

  • libraterian

    “Spreading hatred and polarization”

    It seems your 2012 “Berkeley Jingoist Phrase a Day”‘ calendar is already getting good use. 

  • Pat

    I saw a lone turkey near Acton & Hopkins today, April 29.

  • Bonnie

    Flock of 8 has been strolling up and down Belvedere Ave!

  • Melissa Birch

    True to Berkely tradition, they are protesting their inhumane treatment during Thanksgiving….