The Turkey Habitat

A mix of woodlands, water and grassy areas

Turkeys are great wanderers. The turkey habitat consists of wooded areas, especially hardwood, evergreens and open fields for foraging and mating rituals. In the colder weather, they may be found in evergreen areas. This type of foliage provides them protection from the cold and wind during the winter season, when other trees have lost their leaves. When the weather starts to warm up and the leaves start to come on, they will move out to the hardwoods.

Roosting preference

They are a roosting bird. They roost in order to protect themselves from predators. In the winter, they can be found in flocks, but as spring and the mating season begins, the males and females start to part ways. The domniate Toms will come around for mating purposes, but the hen goes off on her own to lay her eggs. She will normally lay up to about a dozen in as many days, then spend the 28 days hatching them. At this time, all poults will hatch within the next 24 hours. If the nest gets destroyed by predators before the eggs hatch, the hen may lay another batch, but generally fewer eggs this time.

Along come the young

Once hatched, the young poults must be up and going within the day in order to feed and drink. They will leave the nest at this time. They remain 'grounded for about 2 weeks, when they are able to fly up to the roost with their mother. This is a dangerous period because of predators, but enough will survive to grow the flock.

Stats indicate that about 70-80 percent of the poults will seccumb to predators of one sort or another, but high reproductive potential generally wins out in the end. Most all areas that have had turkeys reintroduced have done well, and from a low of an estimated 30,00 or so in early 1900, the population today is estimated over 5,000,000.

Back home to nest

Hens will generally return to the same nest in the following years. New hens may wander serveral miles to select their first nest. The hen will normally remain within about 5 miles of her nesting ground, but the male may wander much farther afield, especially during mating season. Also, turkeys will generally die within 5 miles of where they were born.

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