Gerald the Rose Garden Turkey Has Been Safely Relocated After Months of Worry Over His Fate

In the Fall issue of Poultry Press, we reported the plight of Gerald, a wild turkey who lived peacefully in the Morcom Rose Garden in Oakland, California for about two years until conflicts arose this past summer. The spring mating season, in which parent birds incubate, hatch, and aggressively protect their chicks, plus many more park visitors this year than usual, caused Gerald to act dangerously toward people, causing the California Department of Fish & Wildlife to intervene with a plan to kill Gerald on June 22nd.

Fortunately, park visitors and neighbors, who did not want Gerald killed, clamored publicly – and successfully – for him to be relocated safely to another habitat. Their voices, amplified by more than 13,000 signatures on an online Petition, resulted in saving his life.

The following announcement was posted Oct. 24th, by Oakland activist Molly Flanagan, who led the national call to relocate Gerald to Animal Place sanctuary in Grass Valley, CA. Sadly, Fish & Wildlife rejected this option, releasing him instead into a wild area where hopefully he will thrive. – United Poultry Concerns

Gerald the turkey in the Rose Garden
Gerald at home in the Rose Garden earlier this year.

Gerald the Rose Garden Turkey, Relocated to the Wild

On Friday, October 23rd, after five months holding his ground at the Oakland Rose Garden, Gerald—AKA Big Daddy or Daddy Bird—was caught unharmed, and is now making a new life for himself in an area free of human malice.

Gerald’s life had been under threat after conflicts with visitors—likely induced by stress—escalated. But because of your advocacy, the California Department of Fish & Wildlife (CDFW) reversed their decision and agreed to relocation in lieu of “euthanasia.”

We lobbied hard for Gerald to be released at Animal Place sanctuary, where he would have had a supported transition to the wild. While CDFW did not grant this, they released him to a wild area nearby where hunting is prohibited.

We acknowledge that the shock of being separated from his family and adjusting to an unfamiliar environment will undoubtedly challenge Gerald’s fortitude. However, we are hopeful that he will be able to join an existing wild turkey flock in his new habitat and, once again, be able to thrive.

Thank you for your efforts on Gerald’s behalf. Please join us now in envisioning his continued resilience moving forward. – Molly Flanagan

Gerald standing on sidewalk with people watching traffic. Photo: Mike Taylor
Gerald on the sidewalk earlier this year.