The DC area is fortunate to be home to a diverse population of wildlife and a community who admires them. This week, the wild turkeys in our neighborhoods are in the limelight. Once a rare sight, it’s not unheard of to see wild turkeys in residential or urban areas these days.
In fact, HRA’s trained team of dispatchers has received more than a dozen calls reporting turkey sightings in the District in the last few days alone, with many callers assuming the animals are out of place or have lost their way. Contrary to popular belief, turkey sightings are completely normal here in DC where the birds are native.
What to do if you witness a turkey sighting? “Appreciate the animal from a distance,” said Chris Schindler, Vice President of Field Services at HRA.
“While we’re fortunate our community cares about wildlife and that people are calling Animal Care and Control because they are concerned for the well-being of the turkeys, calls about healthy turkeys roaming the District divert our resources from animal-related emergencies,” said Schindler.
However, if you see a turkey -- or any other animal -- who appears sick or injured or was hit by a car, don’t hesitate to call HRA Animal Care and Control at 202-576-6664, which takes more than 1,600 calls each month and responds to animal emergencies 24/7.
Signs a turkey is sick or injured include obvious wounds, lethargy, listlessness, lameness or inability to stand, and fluids coming from their beak.
To encourage a peaceful coexistence with the turkeys in our neighborhoods, we can make our human-inhabited areas less attractive to turkeys by not feeding them. And for your safety and the safety of the animal, resist any urge to pet or interact with the birds.
“This is a good rule of thumb for all wildlife,” Schindler says.
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