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BEWARE: An 'aggressive' wild turkey is attacking people on Anacostia Riverwalk Trail in DC

DC authorities are warning residents about an aggressive turkey that's running loose.

WASHINGTON — Residents in the Southeast neighborhood of Washington D.C. are being warned after a turkey was seen disrupting bike riders and hikers on a nearby trail. 

Late last week, the Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE), National Park Service (NPS), Humane Rescue Alliance (HRA), and Maryland Department of National Resources (DNR) were first alerted to an aggressive turkey attacking residents on the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail. Wildlife officials told WUSA9 they had received multiple reports of turkeys attacking people in the district.

According to DOEE, it's turkey breeding season, and the rise in attacks is related to territorial behavior. 

One of the latest encounters was caught on video by local Go-Go musician DeDe Folarin of Rare Essence, who was riding his bike on the trail on April 12.

“All of a sudden, I was coming around the bend and this big wild turkey just jumps up and almost claws me in the face,” Folarin said.

Folarin said he dismounted his bike while the turkey continued to harass him for nearly five minutes. The large bird then turned its attention to another passing cyclist as Folarian was taking video of the encounter.

“After the lady asked if I could help, I picked up a stick and I kind of whacked the turkey and he kind of ran back into the brush and that was it,” Folarin said.

WATCH: Folarin captured an encounter with a wild turkey on the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail. 


The new warning comes after a person reported being attacked by a turkey on the same trail back in December. Allie Erenbaum was writing in response to a reader email posted on the local blog Popville in February, where the poster said they were attacked and wound up at "urgent care with puncture wounds on my legs." 

Erenbaum shared her own story with WUSA9. Erenbaum said she had paused to enjoy the wild turkey in its natural setting, and took a photo. But then the turkey advanced. 

"It really started coming towards me so I made a bunch of really loud noise to try to kind of scare it off," Erenbaum said. "I ended up just kind of waving my hands around to just trying to make myself bigger... so it definitely was kind of chasing me a bit, and then when I started to run away, it followed me down the path."

Erenbaum said she was unsure whether she should hold her ground or run away, but she thankfully was able to get away uninjured. 

Dog walkers Chris and Sara Jamison said their sightings of urban turkeys on the trail have been peaceful.

"It's wild land -- turkeys should be here too," Sara Jamison said.

Animal control says it is normal to see turkeys in D.C. and according to DOEE, there here are at least 100 turkeys currently living in D.C. They can grow to around 40 pounds. Officials warn residents not to feed or interact with turkeys. 

Anyone who comes across an aggressive turkey is asked to give them space and call the Humane Rescue Alliance at (703) 433-9576.

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