About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Turkey Courtship

This group came to the feeder a year or so ago.  They were funny to watch.  They were like teenagers.  The boys showing off and the girls pretending not to notice. ~ Grayling, MI

Thank you so much for sharing your photos and observations. You described it perfectly!

Wild Turkey mating season arrives, anywhere from February to April usually while turkeys are still flocked together in wintering areas. The males begin by befriending as many females as possible.

Then male turkeys puff up their bodies and spread their tail feathers just like a peacock. Their fan-like tail, bare head, and bright snood and wattle are all on display to impress the females. They also perform a little turkey trot and make a distinctive gobble that can be heard a mile away. 

The girls take note casually. Eventually females choose a mate that impresses them the most.

After mating, the hens scratch out a shallow dirt depression for their nest, surrounded by moderately woody vegetation for concealment.
Females lay 4 to 17 eggs that they incubate for up to 28 days. Young turkeys quickly learn to fend for themselves as part of mother/child flocks that can include dozens of animals.

Wild Turkeys are omnivorous, foraging for nuts as well as various seeds, berries, roots, grasses and insects. Turkeys also occasionally consume amphibians and small reptiles like snakes.

A varied habitat of both open and covered area is essential for wild turkey survival. Wild turkeys like open areas for feeding, mating and habitat. They use forested areas as cover from predators and for roosting in trees at night.

Related Articles:
- Do turkeys eat ticks or carry ticks? http://goo.gl/JEsug
- Turkey Trivia http://bit.ly/J1AIpH
- Do turkeys drown in the rain? http://bit.ly/rWtgr5
- Why is a Turkey Is Called a Turkey? http://bit.ly/uKNZe5
- What do Turkeys Eat? http://bit.ly/uUiDsN

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