What Do Wild Turkeys Eat? Find Out This Bird’s Unique Diet
Are you new to the exciting activity that is hunting? Looking to score your first game or trying new challenges? If you answer yes to both questions, then hunting wild turkeys is a great way to get you started or going further in the activity of hunting.
But before you head out to the woods and clearings with your gear in tow, there are a few things about wild turkeys that you must first know to make your hunt yield more game. For starters, we’ll answer have to answer the important question of what do wild turkeys eat. These food trails will most likely lead you where to wild turkey flocks are to be found and thus would save you time in looking and give you more time for hunting.
Melissa Mayntz, a birding expert from About.com, describes wild turkeys as ‘opportunistically omnivorous’, feeding off of from a variety of food, both vegetation and animals, that are available in their surroundings. And knowing the history of turkey hunting in North America after its colonization, it would appear that this wide variety of diet has been the wild turkey’s way of adapting for survival.
It is worth noting that wild turkeys, unlike deer, are capable of seeing in color. Adding to that is the fact they often travel in flocks of 30 or so birds. One wrong move and you send them running away leaving you to find another flock to stalk. Thus, hunting them proves to be a bit more challenging further stressing the importance of knowing where to find the bird’s food and by connection the flocks of wild turkeys for you to hunt.
Feeding Fields And The Woods
Bowhunting enthusiasts from Outdoorlife.com, mention the strategy of hunting wild turkeys in feeding field where their usual food are found. You can frequent harvested fields of corn, wheat, acorns, beech nuts and grains during the early morning and late afternoon and be sure to come by a flock of wild turkeys coming to feed.
Another place where wild turkeys feed is the woods. Their food of choice ranges from berries and wild grapes to small reptiles like lizards and yes, even snakes. And depending on the time of the year, they will not pass up eating different types of worms, insects, fruits, seeds, buds, bulbs and roots found on the woodland floor or treetops. Joe Smith, from Cool Green Science, even describes their movements as being ‘like a pack of velociraptors, thrashing up the leaf litter and eating anything that moves’.
Out Of The Woods And Into The Water
One mistake hunters often make is limiting their search of turkey flocks within agricultural lands as this is where they are easiest to spot. The wild turkey’s feeding ground does not stop inside the woods and harvest fields. They are also sometimes found near bodies of water or wet parts of the land to eat crayfish, fish and even aquatic vegetation. They also feed on amphibians like salamanders and frogs.
As a summary of the food wild turkeys eat, here is a helpful Youtube video made by eHow.
Wild Turkey’s Feeding Habits: Winter, Spring, Fall, Summer
Despite being able to eat just about anything that will fit in their mouths, wild turkeys’ diets still differ slightly depending on the season and the geographic location of their habitat.
If food is abundant, most turkeys feed for several hours a day usually early in the mornings and the hours before the night falls. If it isn’t (often during winters) they feed all throughout the day. You can spot a flock of wild turkeys by the sound they make when foraging. Sounds of feet constantly scratching and beaks pecking the ground or shrubs are the common giveaways. Be sure to shadow wild turkey flocks even after they finished feeding because they roost for several hours while digesting their meals.
During the fall and winter, wild turkeys would often eat grains, fruits and nuts in abundance as these are the most available to them. Meanwhile, they eat insects and berries during the hot summers. Grasses and fresh buds are their staple spring foods.
A wild turkey’s diet will also depend on their geographic location. Forested areas are abundant with different types of nuts and buds so turkeys living in these areas eat these types of food while turkeys near agricultural land will have grains and corns to feed on. If they live in warmer, desert-like regions, then they would have a lot of small reptiles and desert plants in their diets.
Wild turkeys being ‘opportunistically omnivorous’ will eat just about anything they can find in fields, woods and even the water. However, their diets will still vary from wild bird to wild bird depending on what of place they live in and the changing of available vegetation the cycle of seasons brings.
I hope this article has been informative and helpful to you first time wild bird hunters out there! If you have further questions or clarifications, you may leave me a comment below. If you don’t have any, then may you have a fun and prosperous hunt!