FOLLOWUP: Here’s what Seattle Animal Shelter says about West Seattle’s wandering guineafowl

(Texted photo, birds in Trader Joe’s parking lot this week)

Since our most-recent mention of West Seattle’s wandering guinea fowl, we’ve received photos and messages every day about sightings. We have not heard from their owner. While the birds – which resemble, but are not, turkeys – seemed to be staying in a residential neighborhood northeast of The Junction when we first heard about them 6+ months ago, most recently they’ve been seen in and near the Junction business district and arterials, with multiple reports of drivers dodging them. Seems unsafe, so today we asked the Seattle Animal Shelter if the situation was on their radar. Here’s the reply we received, via spokesperson Melissa Mixon:

The shelter has received reports of these two guinea fowl and has tried to capture them — even going so far as to buy special feed and grain that we provided to a willing resident who was working with us to try and contain them. The birds have proved to be quite elusive, however.

We encourage residents to contact the shelter if they see them, particularly if they witness a public safety or animal welfare concern (such as wandering onto a road.) One note on guinea fowl: while we certainly can’t comment on the character of these two birds, guinea fowl are larger birds and in general can be territorial and defensive. So residents should exercise caution just as they would around any larger bird.

(Texted photo, birds near West Seattle Bowl this morning)

The animal shelter’s hotline is 206-386-PETS.

29 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: Here's what Seattle Animal Shelter says about West Seattle's wandering guineafowl"

  • SH April 19, 2024 (3:47 pm)

    Count my vote for let them be. 

    • WS Resident April 20, 2024 (12:36 pm)

      Awwww, but then the coyotes will get them…

  • Plf April 19, 2024 (4:27 pm)

    Reminds me of years ago the roaming turkey , Tom or Belevidre that ended up in Renton?

  • Birds in hand April 19, 2024 (4:35 pm)

    If caught will they be euthanized? That would be sad since they clearly have been imported by humans. 

    • T April 19, 2024 (5:37 pm)

      My dog tries to euthanize them everyday. It’s only a matter of time before a cat or coyote gets them.

      • Be better April 19, 2024 (8:46 pm)

        Domesticated cats cause destruction outdoors. If they get to these fowls it’ll be because owners are irresponsible. If an owner lets their pet act wild then it should be relinquished to a better suited owner. 

    • M April 21, 2024 (9:42 am)

      why would you think they would be euthanized? they’d be adopted out like any other domestic fowl. 

  • Alki resident April 19, 2024 (4:57 pm)

    I hope they can safely stick around. I haven’t seen them yet in person but they’re really good looking birds. 

  • waikikigirl April 19, 2024 (5:57 pm)

    I’d like for them to stay free roaming but somewhere not in the City so they can live a long feathery life!

  • Eileen April 19, 2024 (6:02 pm)

    I don’t know if this is a fowl trend but there’s a duck wandering around Genesee Hill this afternoon 

  • David April 19, 2024 (7:35 pm)

    Saw these two walking around near the Charlestown St. Water tank….while taking a pic of them, they let out a piercing scream.

  • PSPS April 19, 2024 (7:40 pm)

    They were crossing Dakota at 40th this afternoon around 2 PM. They can scoot along pretty fast when they want to.

  • Carl Furfaro April 19, 2024 (8:45 pm)

    Living in very rural northern Idaho I had one winter the crazy good fortune of being the “adoptive parent” of a lone wild turkey hen. I could give you several paragraphs detailing all the circumstances of our relationship. She would sleep every night about twenty feet up in a big fir tree by my driveway. In the morning she’d leap from a branch and glide to beside my cabin and walk onto my porch, as if to say, “I’m up, what’s for breakfast?” She would follow me like a puppy walking to my neighbor’s house. In the spring she became much more docile, crouching down in front of me, her wattles fading from red to pale pink, obviously offering to mate. I just said, I’m not a turkey! You need to find some other turkeys! It was the only time she tolerated my urge to pet her; before, she would always leap away. Eventually she wandered off. Months later I was sure I saw her again but she ran from me, and I was glad she did. Nice to see these photos and be reminded of that very special experience!

    • Gay Gabrilska April 19, 2024 (10:33 pm)

      What fantastic stories Carl and Karen. Thank you for sharing. 

    • anonyme April 20, 2024 (3:31 pm)

      Carl, have you ever seen the PBS documentary called “My Life as a Turkey”?  Fantastic.  Really intelligent animals.

      • Carl Furfaro April 20, 2024 (6:29 pm)

        I’ll have to check that out! Thank you.

  • Mark April 19, 2024 (9:05 pm)

    Why capture them? They are causing no harm and are clearly aware and elusive enough to avoid vehicles and pets. If anything, it is a bonus for our community. It brings people together, spotting and taking photos and sending to friends and family which often leads to a fun discussion. Let them be. 

  • Karen April 19, 2024 (9:49 pm)

    10 years ago or so, some one dropped one loan guineafowl at the Dog Park.  He promptly left the park and ended up under our neighbors deck.  He had several yards and empty lot full of blackberries so he stuck around.  We neighbors liked him. Except at sunset he would loudly cry out with that shrill voice.  A friend from the country said he was looking for more of his kind.  He stuck around until a little dog started chasing him.  Last I say of him he had moved 2 streets away.  Nice memory

  • AG April 20, 2024 (6:45 am)

    The article doesn’t say why they need to be captured so people are speculating. Perhaps more information could be posted?  I suspect it’s for the birds health and safety, so they can be re-homed. Seattle Animal Shelter adopts out various critters (not just cats and dogs).  

  • Workaday April 20, 2024 (7:14 am)

    I was heading East on Oregon where the two cars before me stopped because they popped into the road when a westbound driver barely stopped for them probably because she couldn’t see them until the last second. I expected a hit and surprised neither the Guinea Foul or us drivers experienced one yesterday.

    I love them and the rest of our West Seattle residents who walk, fly, strut, etc among us.But, we have to regard the safety of us and them. They don’t have a healthy fear of cars and this is far from the first time I’ve seen them reflecting that. Nearly all our other wildish residents do.

    Without car fear, they’re accidentally at risk of causing an accident. Relocating them or someone stepping up to pen them and take them in would probably be best. If I owned a home, I would in a heartbeat, even if it was until someone would take them in permanently.

  • Laina April 20, 2024 (3:37 pm)

    They “belong” to my neighbor, who is utterly irresponsible with animals. The humane society told him 3 years ago that he can’t have more animals, yet he got 5 of these guinea fowls. Three haven’t made it, and if you notice, these two are never more than a couple feet apart from one another. They’re petrified of humans. 

    • KM April 20, 2024 (10:16 pm)

      That’s awful! Irresponsible animal ownership is cruel if not a crime.

  • Terry April 20, 2024 (8:02 pm)

    Spotted the pair today at 4:00pm next to the Holy Rosary playground on SW Dakota St & 41st Ave SW.

  • Axle April 21, 2024 (7:07 pm)

    I know who the owner is, it seems like they go back home every night to roost, which seems like the best time to capture them, if necessary. They’ve been around since at least November, it’s unclear that they’re really causing a problem, mostly I see people pulling over to gawk and take pictures. There used to be 4 or 5, it’s unclear if they got eaten by the local wildlife or the owners. 

    • Lucie April 25, 2024 (8:10 am)

      Is there a reason the owner doesn’t want to or can’t keep them in their area if they return nightly to roost? They’re on the corner of Fauntleroy and Oregon this morning, an incredibly busy stretch and worries they will get hit. 

  • John April 25, 2024 (11:31 pm)

    I haven’t heard an argument for what harm they are causing?  Sure they’re not native here, but so?  Let-em be, people are fascinated by them. 

  • Rebecca April 28, 2024 (8:33 pm)

    Saw them getting buffeted by the wind gusts today on 39th Ave SW between Oregon and Genesee. It’s delightful to see these unusual creatures, but I am definitely worried about them in this weather. They literally got blown sideways like balloons in a gust.

  • Josue April 30, 2024 (6:03 pm)

    They were by Zoomcare parking lot on 41st this evening on my way home from gym

    • Josue April 30, 2024 (7:27 pm)

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