Wild turkey blamed for attacks on Anacostia hikers

Talk about running "afowl" of the law.

Authorities in D.C. are searching for a male turkey that has been spotted chasing after and even attacking people on the popular Anacostia Riverwalk Trail in Northeast.

"Every time he tries to get back on his bike, it literally is attacking him," Antoine Keels told FOX 5 Monday. He was describing a video he’d recently shot, showing the turkey attacking a cyclist who was attempting to defend himself using his bike.

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It isn’t the only incident. The Washington Post published an article detailing several attacks. Local blog PoPville posted about it too.

In fact, it’s become enough of an issue that authorities posted a sign with a picture of a wild turkey alongside the trail, reading, "Caution! Do not approach wildlife."


Dan Rauch, a fisheries and wildlife biologist with the District’s Department of Energy and Environment, said there are actually more than 100 wild turkeys throughout the city. He said one male is responsible for the attacks, adding that it’s "not usual turkey behavior" and he believes this specific bird has somehow become acclimated to people. 

He also told FOX 5 that despite the efforts of several agencies, the turkey has proved elusive thus far.

Keels said he is still running along the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail, albeit while exercising quite a bit more caution than before.

"I save my energy for that mile to make sure that if I need to run, I can run," he explained. "I go from like an eight-minute mile to a twelve-minute mile just to make sure I’ve got enough for a good sprint."