Turkey on the loose? West Seattle sightings

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10:53 AM: We usually feature bird photos with our daily calendar update – but this sighting is too unusual to time-share with other subject matter. We’ve received two reports, with photos, of a bird seen in West Seattle, with both readers describing it as a turkey! Above and below, photos that Jodi Steele took in Lincoln Park on Sunday, south of the north play area:


And before we could publish Jodi’s sighting, another one just arrived in the WSB inbox from George Capestany, south of Me-Kwa-Mooks, who wrote, “This is a rare sighting. This morning at 9:30. Just walking around the neighborhood”:


So is it really a turkey? BirdWeb doesn’t include King County in their habitat.

7:35 PM: Commenters have a variety of opinions on what exactly this bird is. Meantime, we have an even-closer photo courtesy of JoDean, who says her daughter took it at Lincoln Park on Sunday:


Let us know if you see it!

51 Replies to "Turkey on the loose? West Seattle sightings"

  • Benny Hill May 2, 2016 (10:58 am)

    Gobble gobble.

  • Rick May 2, 2016 (11:02 am)

    When I mention wild turkey to my wife she’ll assume the obvious. “But really honey, I saw “A” wild turkey!

  • Chuck May 2, 2016 (11:03 am)

    Well THAT’S interesting. I know we have a strong (huntable) population on the east side of the Cascades, but not sure if we have them here in W. Wa. Well, there’s at least one, anyway. 

    They’re cool birds, but can tear up a garden pretty good with their scratching for bugs, acorns, seeds, etc. Still, it would be cool if (like the coyotes) they set up shop in W. Sea.

    Just more reason to keep dogs on their leash!

  • waikikigirl May 2, 2016 (11:15 am)

    I think this must be somebodies pet gotten loose don’t you think??? Or just one lucky bird come this November 24th! 

    • Wlb May 7, 2016 (4:29 pm)

      If someone was raising the turkey, it was not for a pet.  November is right around the corner.

  • Chuck May 2, 2016 (11:21 am)

    From a 2010 article in Game and Fish mag: 

    “Most seasons, you can count on your fingers the number of turkeys killed
    in other Western Washington counties. These numbers reflect more a
    general lack of hunter knowledge and interest than a scarcity of birds
    in some areas. Often virtually unnoticed, turkey populations are
    actually increasing in many regions. Along the coast, Grays Harbor and
    Pacific counties tend to be reasonably productive, and hunters pursue
    them on bottoms and benches on private timberlands. Cowlitz and Lewis
    counties also have small populations of turkeys, and you won’t
    experience much competition from other hunters.”

    So,  looks like this might be a natural migration versus a “lost” pet. Cool!

  • A-Red May 2, 2016 (11:43 am)


  • newnative May 2, 2016 (11:49 am)

    The photos are too blurry for me to see the heads well.  They are either turkeys or female peacocks.  Look to big to be peacocks but they have the pheasant-type markings and body shape.

  • Diane May 2, 2016 (11:50 am)

    Saturday about 6pm, I saw a bird that looked just like this, and thought it was a turkey, and odd, at south end of Arbor Heights; it was running around side of the road at furthest south end of 35th; I figured maybe it was someone’s pet???  or lived in the greenbelt???

  • Sevenless May 2, 2016 (11:54 am)

    There have been a few past incidents of feral populations getting loose in Western Washington outside of their mapped range.  Most notably, La Conner had a free-roaming flock a decade ago that ultimately was declared a public nuisance and rounded up because they became a nuisance and were overly aggressive.

  • Curate May 2, 2016 (1:41 pm)

    That really looks like a pea-hen (female peacock), not a turkey. We had a pair land in our yard several years ago when we lived close to the ferry on Vashon. They walked around for several hours, sometimes very close to the house, so we got a lot of photos of them + clear identification. So it would not surprise me at all if they show up occasionally on the west side of West Seattle.

  • Kate May 2, 2016 (1:47 pm)

    YES!  I knew it!!  I saw this bird Sunday morning on Fauntleroy south of the ferry dock.  I was sure it was a turkey.  But that didn’t make any sense.  It was feeding on the parking strip then it walked up the driveway of the house.   And I thought “Well, if you can have chickens, maybe you can have turkeys.”

  • ClayJustSayin May 2, 2016 (1:48 pm)

    I doubt if it is a turkey.  I’ve seen turkeys at the grocery store, and that ain’t it.

  • CanDo May 2, 2016 (2:00 pm)

    I saw a flock of wild turkeys on San Juan Island a few years ago, so they are around in parts of Western Washington. 

  • waikikigirl May 2, 2016 (2:28 pm)

    I agree with NEWNATIVE especially on the 2nd picture, that one looks like a female peacock but the other 2 sure look like turkey’s to me. But who knows without seeing them in person!

  • erm May 2, 2016 (2:43 pm)

    This is not a turkey.  They’re chunky and not very attractive, but what you can see on this picture are graceful lines akin to a peacock.

  • Chuck May 2, 2016 (2:49 pm)

    Curate, my money is on a hen or immature (jake) male turkey–not sure the species. The white tips at the base of the tail feathers (that form the classic band when displaying) are the clincher for me.

  • Born on Alki 59 May 2, 2016 (3:16 pm)

    Looks like a young Jake to me also.

    We have a small resident population of these at our other place near Lake Cushman, on the east slopes of the Olympics.

    Not very common to see these in Western Washington.

    Terrible table fare BTW. Stick to the Butterball.

    • newnative May 2, 2016 (4:28 pm)

      We had wild turkey once for Thanksgiving, cooked on the Weber BBQ.  Tasted pretty good.  

  • Joe May 2, 2016 (3:17 pm)

    Chuck, your absolutely right about the white band. This is definitely a hen turkey. I don’t think this is a wild bird though. It’s most likely an escaped bird from someone’s urban farm. It is turkey hunting season right now and I’ve already harvested my Rio and Eastern, I just need a Merriams to complete my Washington Slam!  To bad you can’t hunt in Lincoln Park. 

  • M May 2, 2016 (3:31 pm)

    I love the comments on these threads!

  • D. Radke-Bogen May 2, 2016 (4:15 pm)

    The tail band is a good spot. The body form of the wild turkey is much more graceful than the plucked, processed food products seen at your supermarket.   http://tucsoncitizen.com/morgue/files/2008/11/l103716-1.jpg


    Jist acrost the holler from West Seattle

  • Cindy Roberts May 2, 2016 (5:12 pm)

    Here is a picture I took yesterday at Lincoln Park.

    • WSB May 2, 2016 (5:14 pm)

      Thank you. I’ve also received a closer photo by e-mail but haven’t had a chance to add it.

  • unknown May 2, 2016 (5:28 pm)

    Looks like a turkey, gobbles like a turkey must be a turkey.

  • Pam May 2, 2016 (5:35 pm)

    My friend who lives on the water south of the ferry dock said this beauty was walking very quickly along the beach towards the ferry dock.  She and her neighbors believed it to be a PeaCock. 

    I sure hope that he/she is taken care of and finds it’s home in a nice safe wonderful setting

  • Cjwws May 2, 2016 (6:40 pm)

    Most likely hen peacock, not a wild turkey, check out pics on Google.

  • Turkey May 2, 2016 (6:52 pm)

    Cindy roberts pic looks like a turkey to me. Turkeys are wild in western washington, but I think it highly unlikely for them to migrate to this neighborhood without human’s help. I bet someone had it in their urban farm then decided to let them go “into the wild”. Looks like coyote food to me. When I lived out of the city, I had a neighbor that raised turkeys for food. They looked like that!

  • wsobserver May 2, 2016 (6:58 pm)

    The country boy in our house has pronounced this definitely a turkey hen.

  • desertdweller May 2, 2016 (7:51 pm)

    Female turkey.  Peahens have feathered plumes (this one does not), a white breast (this one does not), and distinctive white markings on its face (this one does not).  What this bird does have is a wattle, dark feathers throughout, and a white band on its tail feathers.  

  • Brontosaurus May 2, 2016 (10:01 pm)

    Run! Turkey! Run! You still have more than 6 months to get away before Thanksgiving.

  • RuckusWB May 3, 2016 (12:44 pm)

    New turkey sighting today (5-3) on hillside behind Alki condo. – RWBIII

  • Pam May 3, 2016 (2:47 pm)

    can someone please save him and take him home as a pet?

    he is not able to fly and is thus not safe to predators

    • Wlb May 7, 2016 (4:37 pm)

      So you’re trying to starve the preditors? 

  • newnative May 3, 2016 (2:57 pm)

    the photos look different.  The blurry ones seem to have different markings and pea-hen head.  Last night’s photos look clearly like a turkey hen.  

  • waikikigirl May 3, 2016 (3:44 pm)

    Don’t you find this just a little odd that all of a sudden this/these turkey(s) have shown up in WS and that these are the 1st sightings of it/them? I think someone had them as “pets” and they got to be too much work so they let them/him/her loose to fend for itself.


  • JodiSteele May 3, 2016 (4:04 pm)

    Perhaps seeing the bird in motion will help.


    • WSB May 3, 2016 (4:19 pm)

      Jodi, was that its call at the start of your clip? Last night before closing our front windows I heard a spooky call out there somewhere, and we’re just uphill from Lincoln Park …

  • Curt May 3, 2016 (4:38 pm)

     Lost turkey on Alki Ave., Southwest. Such a beautiful bird and very tame 

  • unknown May 3, 2016 (4:51 pm)

    The sound at the beginning sounded human to me like they were trying to get the turkey to “talk” back.

  • Native2Seattle May 5, 2016 (7:43 am)

    I swear we just saw this on our neighbor’s roof. I tried to grab my phone for a picture, but then it flew off into another yard.  We’re in Pigeon Point.  I will keep an eye out and try to get a photo. 

  • Matt S. May 5, 2016 (10:09 am)

    Somebody let me know if it’s seen with a pig, some lettuce and tomato, a jar of mayo, and a loaf of bread. That’s a situation I can handle. 

  • Native2Seattle May 5, 2016 (3:14 pm)

    Here’s a photo a neighbor took this morning. The bird was spotted on 23rd Ave SW.

  • unknown May 6, 2016 (6:15 pm)

    Is someone driving this bird around daily and dropping it off in different neighborhoods cause it sure seems like it is everywhere in WS?

  • Alethea May 6, 2016 (7:55 pm)

    This turkey is currently residing in our backyard on Alki…The neighbor first saw her  three days ago. We see a  large variety of wildlife, but this was quite a suprise. She seems to be very tame. We think she must belong to someone.

  • LuAn Johnson May 6, 2016 (8:20 pm)

    This fellow was in our condo garage around 3pm on Tuesday, May 3rd! Couldn’t get a photo, but he was large!

  • unknown May 7, 2016 (4:42 am)

    Althea….are you going to keep it as a pet or are you able to catch it and have someone take it to some kind of place that can take it in so it is safe from predators (coyotes)? Obviously if someone owned it you’d think they would have come forward by now especially for how long it’s story has been on the WSB.

  • Wlb May 7, 2016 (4:33 pm)

    I saw and photographed a turkey this morning on Alki Ave, SW.  It ran back into the woods.  I’ve hunted turkeys and this was a young one.

  • Joe May 7, 2016 (10:36 pm)

    The reason why you are seeing this bird in so many neighborhoods is because wild turkeys can fly. They can fly upwards of a half mile. I’ve seen a bird fly across a canyon, easily 1/2 mile, when I was in the Klickitat area hunting. But image more of falling with style. They can glide very well. But also turkeys roost in trees so the won’t be yote food and their eyesight is second only to an eagle or hawk. BUT….. This bird is most likely an escapee. I would guess it could still fly though if they didn’t clip it’s wings. 

    PS- Got my Washington Slam!

  • Suzanne W May 12, 2016 (9:54 am)

      Female wild turkey at Duwamish Head for 3 days.

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