‘Help!': Feisty Turkey Confronts Another Person on Prince George's Trail

A woman says she was on the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail when the turkey ran her down and scratched her

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A wild turkey that confronted a woman on a trail in Prince George's County, Maryland, is likely the same bird that attacked at least two other people on the trail last month, an official says.

The woman told News4 the turkey wouldn't leave her alone Tuesday evening near the second mile marker on the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail.

She says the feisty bird ran her down and scratched her. Then, she captured video of the turkey on her phone.

"Help! Help! Help!" the woman can be heard screaming in the video as the turkey approaches her on a grassy area by the trail.

Eventually, she was able to get away from the turkey.

A biologist for D.C.'s Department of Environment believes it's the same turkey that attacked a man and a woman in April on the trail.

A wild turkey is chasing and attacking people on the popular Anacostia Riverwalk Trail in Northeast. News4's Mark Segraves reports.

"Just riding along the path, this gigantic turkey just kind of, like, jumps up towards my face ... almost claws me in the face. So, kind of knocked me off my bike, and then it proceeded to chase me around for, like, five minutes," DeDe Folarin said.

Then, Folarin says the turkey went after a nearby woman who tried to fend it off with her bicycle. Folarin caught the encounter on video.

"I put the phone down and picked up the biggest twig I could find and started whacking the bird twice," Folarin said. The turkey eventually ran into a bush.

Folarin says he and the woman have been repeatedly asked why they didn't just run away.

"They can be very aggressive. They're very fast and you've just never been attacked by a turkey before," he said.

There have been multiple sightings of wild turkeys along the trail dating back to November.

"There's actually a pretty healthy turkey population in D.C. and the surrounding areas," said Dan Rauch, a fisheries and wildlife biologist for the D.C. Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE). "There's at least a hundred, maybe even two, here in the District."

But not all wild turkeys are friendly.

Rauch believes the turkey that attacked Folarin is the same turkey that multiple people have reported seeing from Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens in D.C. to Bladensburg Waterfront Park in Maryland.

He said the DOEE has tried to catch the bird.

"I've been out there looking for it and I've been out there using different turkey calls, calls with males or females, trying to attract it in in order to catch that bird," Rauch said.

"This is a male so it's a pretty large turkey and when people see it, it will drop its wings, it will pop off to display."

The DOEE plans to catch the bird and have a veterinarian evaluate it before releasing it in a nearby wildlife sanctuary.

Until then, Rauch says visitors to these areas should be cautious and call animal control if they spot the turkey.

"If this turkey approaches you, I'd try to back up and move away," he said. "It is a big bird. They do have spurs. They can run and they can fly."

CORRECTION (May 19, 2022 10:42 a.m.): An earlier version of this story said the attack happened along Southeast D.C. portion of the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail. It happened in Prince George's County, Maryland.

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