A controversy over a postal worker killing a turkey that attacked delivery workers has gobbled up Sacramento Nextdoor, as a “drumstick gang” of wild turkeys has had tensions marinating for months.
It is well-known that raccoons, geese, and turkeys are some of the biggest assholes of the animal kingdom. And SFist readers will remember the 2020 saga of the Oakland Rose Garden’s Gerald the turkey, who divided the community between those sympathetic to animals, and those who think certain animals should be snuffed if their assholery gets out of control.
Sacramento Bee brings us another wild story of an aggressive wild turkey, this time in a Sacrament suburb called Arden Arcade. A certain gaggle of turkeys had been specifically terrorizing “mail carriers, Amazon drivers and garbage collectors,” though oddly, no one else. “I call them the drumstick gang.” Ared Arcade resident Trina Gebert told the Bee.
In October 2021, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) circulated an internal document called “Aggressive Wild Turkeys in Sacramento – Repeated Aggression toward Postal Service Mail Carriers.” The Bee acquitted that document and other emails in a Freedom of Information Act request, and it reported that the agency “started receiving calls of aggressive turkeys that were threatening and interfering with mail delivery in October 2021.”
“By mid-October it was evident that the birds were not responding to normal ‘shooing away’ and one of the mail carriers was injured on his hand,” the document added.
The agency sent out a video team, and the Bee acquired one of those videos, which confirmed that for some reason, the turkeys only attacked delivery workers. “It looks like we can walk right up to ’em, it’s just the mail carrier who they don’t like,” a wildlife officer says in one of the videos. “They are obviously really upset, behaving very aggressively toward the mail carriers, but no one else.”
According to documents the Sacramento Bee obtained, the CDFW’s Human Wildlife Conflict team (yes, they have one) decided on the fatal solution, saying “we may be able to expediently authorize the lethal take” of the largest and most aggressive bird.
But on February 28 this year, a postal service worker took matters into their own hands, and offed the bird with brute force. And Sacramento Nextdoor exploded with controversy, some complainers furious at the cruelty, others thrilled that someone gave that goddamned bird what it had coming.
“Last week the situation escalated to a national media story when one of the mail carriers, feeling threatened, struck a male (tom) turkey with a stick resulting in the tom’s death.” CDFW officials told one another in an email.
The postal worker was considered for discipline, but ultimately, not punished for beating a wild turkey to death. But this Thanksgiving, there are surely plenty of folks in that Sacramento suburb who are thankful that bird was bludgeoned to the great beyond.
Image: California Department of Fish and Wildlife