By Mike Kinney
Whether they like it or not, residents of Richmond’s North & East neighborhood have an outspoken new neighbor: A female African Helmeted Guinea Fowl. And while the new resident has been an expert at social distancing, perhaps a few neighbors wish she could keep the noise down a bit.
According to neighbors, the African Guinea Fowl, a species deriving from Southwest Africa, has roosted along 32nd Street between McBryde and Esmond Avenues.
All Thursday afternoon, neighbors said there were numerous attempts to catch the exotic bird, which is about the size of a small female turkey. The Guinea Fowl seems to enjoy dried Quaker Oats and eats it with a passion. The neighbors had been using the oats as bait. The bird rejected their advances by flying up to rooftops, where it perched and made loud harsh calls.
The Guinea Fowl has very strong claws and scratches loose soil the way chickens do. The bird can run very quickly. It has a pure white unfeathered head and it’s body plumage is quite beautiful, covered with gray-black spangle feathers with thousands of white dot markings covering the feathers.
Reports from Next Door said people had observed the same African Guinea Fowl high up in the hills of East Richmond Heights in the past few weeks. It was seen earlier today around Mira Vista and Hazel Avenue. One person in the area saw it sitting on the gate of Mira Vista Elementary School.
Neighbors in the area complained that the Guinea Fowl woke them up around 6 a.m. Thursday with loud obnoxious noises. Contra Costa County Animal Protective Service came out to investigate the reports of the Fowl but there was nothing they could do because the bird was not hurt or injured.
So the African Guinea Fowl has since flown to the North & East to roost and has adopted 32nd Street as her new home.