Melissa Mayntz is a bird expert, certified master Naturalist, writer, and author with over three decades of experience. She's published in several national magazines, consisting of National Wildlife Magazine, Bird Watcher's Digest, and WildBird Magazine. Melissa has studied thousands of bird varieties around the world, travel to Mexico, central America, the Caribbean, the main Pacific, the center East, and much more on birding expeditions.

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Illustration: The Spruce/Jerry Lue

exactly how They Eat

Wild turkeys forage constantly, constantly seeking the end a new meal or snack. They room most commonly found feeding because that several hrs in the at an early stage morning just after sunrise, and also will also feed an ext actively several hours before darkness. If food is scarce they will forage at any type of time that day, and when the flock consists of young, hungry chicks, lock are an ext often foraging throughout the day together well.


While foraging, a wild turkey will scrape with both feet, alternating to use each foot one at a time, climate pecking at the floor to find whatever has been uncovered. They will occasionally pluck fruit or other foods straight off plants, however only seldom forage when perched in trees. A turkey swallows its food whole and also the product is save in the bird"s crop to it is in digested little by tiny with the aid of the gizzard. ~ feeding, turkeys will regularly roost quietly for several hours while castle digest.


how Their Diet varies

Though turkeys will certainly eat plenty of different things, their diets have the right to be influenced by a variety of factors, together as:


Season: Turkeys, favor all animals, choose food sources that are many abundant and easiest to reach. When various foods are plentiful in different seasons, turkeys adjust their diet accordingly. In spring, they eat much more fresh buds, grasses, and comparable plant material, if insects and berries are more popular fare in summer. In autumn and winter, nuts, fruits, and also grains make up the mass of a wild turkey's diet.Geography: A bird's location considerably influences the foodstuffs it can find. Wild turkeys that are found in much more forested varieties will have a higher percentage of nuts and also buds in your diet. Turkeys that are in more open, desert regions may rely on an ext reptiles, seeds, and cacti for their nutrition. In agricultural regions, wild turkeys deserve to often discover much more grain come eat, and may also be considered a nuisance or insect in farmers' fields.Age: Young wild turkeys can forage because that themselves an extremely quickly, and also the hen will certainly lead her brood come the best easily accessible food sources. Because that the first month of the birds' lives, lock eat a much greater percentage that insects, mollusks, reptiles, or various other meat to obtain the protein crucial for healthy and balanced growth. As they age they try a broader variety of foods items and shift to a an ext varied diet relying on what is available. Adult wild turkeys eat mostly plant matter but still take advantage of any kind of easily available food, consisting of meat.

Feeding Turkeys

Wild turkeys are not common as backyard birds, however birders that live close to wooded locations may uncover these huge game bird foraging close to their feeders. To provide an adequate feeding area because that wild turkeys:


Plant oak or beech trees in addition to grapes, cherry trees, crabapples, hackberries, and comparable trees and shrubs to carry out an inexpensive, natural, renewable food resource for wild turkeys. Aboriginal plants are best due to the fact that the turkeys will acknowledge them more easily, and also the plants will require less care to create abundant plants to feed a hungry flock.Minimize or get rid of herbicides and also insecticides that might contaminate foodstuffs wild turkeys eat, particularly during the summer when young birds are more susceptible to toxicity chemicals. Instead, enable turkeys to forage freely and they will certainly eat countless bothersome insects.

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Wild turkeys are huge game birds with healthy and balanced appetites, and also they sate those appetites v a wide variety of various foods. Birders who recognize what wild turkeys eat can an ext easily arrangement how to find these video game birds in the ar by visiting locations where food is abundant. That is even possible to provide a spot because that wild turkeys in ~ a backyard bird-friendly buffet instead of focusing on this birds at the center of a vacation dinner table.