Wild Turkeys in Early Winter

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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.

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

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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.

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Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.