Gerald the turkey is not practicing social distancing.— San Francisco Chronicle (@sfchronicle) May 22, 2020
He's been aggressively approaching visitors, disrupting their picnics and frightening children at a public park in the Grand Lake neighborhood of Oakland. https://t.co/smaGqjpD0G pic.twitter.com/14X1xkIeJ0
Who knows what goes on in the mind of a turkey that makes them turn violent? In the previous post When Turkeys Attack, we linked to a list of six notorious turkey incidents, but the story of Gerald the turkey terror of Oakland was not included. Gerald menaced visitors to a city park for the better part of a year!
In the Before Times, Gerald was a beloved figure in the neighborhood. On weekday mornings, he would start his day by strutting across the Morcom Rose Garden to go and wait on the sidewalk with commuters in the sunlight. But late last year, per the news outlet Oaklandside, locals like Molly Flanagan, who were familiar and friendly with Gerald, noticed that the bird they knew was no longer acting like himself. “Flanagan said she first noticed the change when she was in the rose garden with a friend and Gerald wouldn’t leave them alone,” Oaklandside reported. “The bird ‘fixated’ on her friend, sending what Flanagan described as ‘a lot of energy’ their way.”
Another local, Alexis Morgan, recounted to Oaklandside a tale of Gerald relentlessly pursuing an older woman around the rose garden “until she was forced to climb a tree to escape.” Morgan acted to save the older woman, but Gerald had something for her, too, “landing a ‘kangaroo kick’ on her, leaving the imprint of a turkey foot on her thigh.”
Gerald continued his crimes, first because experts thought it was a phase, and then because local ordinances prevented officials from doing anything to him. He also gained a fan club, which meant Oakland residents who wanted to do something about him were at war with those who wanted to protect the bird. Find out what ultimately happened to Gerald at Mel magazine.