Alright Gulfport, what the flock is going on? Who lost a turkey?
Reports of a wild turkey trotting around Ward 3 circulated Saturday, July 11. The bird was seen near Tangerine Avenue and 17th Street S.
“I saw it around 11 a.m.,” said eyewitness and Gulfport resident Duane Page. “I just thought it was a female peacock, so I didn’t think much about it.”
“In my 20 years in Gulfport I’ve never seen a turkey just walking around,” said Gulfport Police Officer Rob Burkhart, who reported the fowl sighting to the Gabber. “I’ve seen alligators, chickens, a giant tortoise, but never a turkey.”
“Wild turkeys are powerful fliers, especially for short distances. Speeds of up to 55 mph have been observed. To conserve energy, wild turkeys primarily walk. They spend most of their time on the ground, where they search for acorns, seeds, fruits, insects, leaves, and small vertebrates. They can easily cover several hundred acres in a day,” according to the Florida Wildlife Commission website.
Wild Florida turkeys are usually found in woodland areas and open forests, according to the FWC. Turkeys are foragers and do not require a specific diet to survive.
The public should note that the FWC highly discourages domesticating wild turkeys due to their potential aggressive behavior.
“Providing food in residential areas to attract wild turkeys can become a public safety threat for you and your neighbors.”
At this time there are no plans to jail the bird.
Click here for more information from the FWC on Florida’s wild turkey population and how to live with turkeys in the neighborhood.