Wild Turkeys in Early Winter


In the snow belt of the North, agricultural lands provide critical winter habitat for wild turkeys. Not just any corn field or weedy fence row will do however. These large birds  – one of the largest in North America – also need spacious areas with a mixture of grain fields; mature woodlands; large evergreen cover and sheltered, southern exposures. Fields with spread cow manure are a welcome addition to the mix too.

With only a few inches of snow on the ground, our turkeys are unimpeded in their search for concentrated food sources. Flocks ranging from a few birds to 50 or more are often seen in the middle of the day walking, talking and “scratching” across farm fields.


Waste grain in harvested corn fields is a staple (fortunately, the geese didn’t consume all of it in the fall).





Bursts of “lake effect” snow often trigger intense feeding. Accumulating snow could eliminate this high energy food source in a matter of hours – and the birds know that.


Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.



11 thoughts on “Wild Turkeys in Early Winter

  1. Nick, thanks for all your terrific field work and the education you provide with the pictures. Sent this to the little kids in my family who think it’s amazing that I have these terrific birds in my yard out here the northern Adirondacks. But my pictures come nowhere near what you create.

    • Appreciate the nice comments and I’m thrilled to hear that kids will have a chance to see this post! Means a lot to a former educator. I used to travel through Poland and Cold Brook in southeastern Herkimer County in the winter and always saw turkeys concentrated around backyard feeders. Quite a sight. Look for a follow-up post on turkeys in flight – probably tomorrow – the kids will love it!

    • Thanks Donna. We occasionally have winter landscapes with patchy, dirty snow and ice (the advancing warm front will probably have that effect). When that happens I lose interest in winter photography and realize how much I rely on good snow cover for my recreation!

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