Following multiple encounters DMV residents have had with a wild turkey on the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail, some might be shocked to find out just how many call the District home.
According to NBC Washington, an unidentified woman was riding her bike on the trail near the second mile marker when an aggressive male turkey began to pursue her. It chased her down and scratched her, though the rider was ultimately able to get away.
Tuesday’s run-in follows a previous encounter in March and an instance in late April when a man and a woman encountered an aggressive turkey on the same trail. A biologist for the D.C. Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) believes it’s the same one, but notes that the animal isn’t as uncommon in the District as residents might have believed.
“There’s actually a pretty healthy turkey population in D.C. and the surrounding areas,” DOEE biologist Dan Rauch told NBC Washington. “There’s at least a hundred, maybe even two, here in the District.”
Wild turkeys are making a comeback in the area after about 50 years, when overhunting and urbanization in the area depleted its populations.
The DOEE is attempting to catch the bird so it can have it sedated and evaluated before releasing it to a wildlife sanctuary. However, while it remains on the loose Rauch has some advice for trail-goers.
“If this turkey approaches you, I’d try to back up and move away,” he said. “It is a big bird. They do have spurs. They can run and they can fly.”
Anyone who encounters the turkey is encouraged to contact animal control or the Humane Rescue Alliance.