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.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

What do Turkeys Eat?

This may be a funny question to ask around Thanksgiving but, we have a Wild Turkey visiting our bird feeder and I’d like to feed her. She’s interesting to watch. What do they prefer to eat?

Turkeys are fun to observe! 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. A varied habitat of both open and covered area is essential for wild turkey survival. If you live in a suitable area you may find turkeys frequenting your bird feeders in the early morning and late afternoon.

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. If you want to feed Wild Turkeys, I would recommend our Wild Birds Unlimited Wildlife Blend. It’s a nice mixture of peanuts, sunflower seed and corn. Our Choice Harvest Blend also has enough tree nuts, sunflower seeds, dried cherries, and suet nuggets to satisfy any turkey as well as a wide variety of other birds.

Wild Turkey Meleagris gallopavo

The birds have a naked blue/red head, dark glossy, iridescent body feathers, and a barred copper colored tail. The males are brighter than the females and have a central breast tassel and red wattles on the face and neck. The adult males, known as toms or gobblers, normally weigh between 16 and 24 pounds while the females, known as hens, usually weigh between 8 and 10 pounds.

Once common throughout Michigan, the turkey population is starting to recover from overhunting and loss of habitat in the 20th century. A group of turkeys has many collective nouns, including a "crop", "dole", "gang", "posse", and "raffle" of turkeys.


Anonymous said...

We have a lone wild turkey that has been "living" in our yard for approximately 6 months. She eats at the birdfeeder and prefers sunflower seeds over corn or other types of birdfeed. She roosts in the same tree every evening. Yesterday we had a blizzard and she survived much to our surprise. We made sure she had ample dry food put out during the day.

Anonymous said...

I have a lone wild turkey in my yard also :) I love her!!!!

Anonymous said...

I have a lone female that stays in my yard every other day (not sure where she goes on the other day). She seems to have figured out that I fill the bird feeder and she camps on the deck and looks in the window when hungry. Funny. Pretty tame for a wild turkey.

Anonymous said...

I have a posse of 11 turkeys in my back yard, a few times a day. I put out corn for them, and they eat the birds' sunflower seeds.what they like most is peanuts, and they eat all the peanuts I put out for squirrels and Chipmunks. Should I put out a pan of water too?