Turkeys are large birds that almost everyone has at least heard about. You might be most familiar with them carved up on a platter at Thanksgiving, but they are actually common in the wild.
These big birds can reach heights of 48 inches, a length of 64 inches, and a weight anywhere between 17-30 lb.
Wild turkeys can live for up to 10 years, gracing the countryside with their presence and gobbles. For the purpose of this article, we will primarily be focusing on Wild Turkeys, or the ones you can find in North America.
You might think you know a lot about turkeys, but have you ever thought about where they sleep? We wondered that,
so we put together a post exploring the secrets of turkeys and finding out a little more about how and where they sleep.
Where Do You Find Turkeys?
The Wild Turkey is native to North America, but can be found in various countries in Europe and Asia, too. There is a second species of turkey too, the Ocellated Turkey.
This species can be found in Mexico, as well as Central America, and has iridescent bronze, blue, and green plumage.
Like the Wild Turkey, the Ocellated Turkey also has a crown and gobbles, so the two do share similarities.
The Wild Turkey loves living in habitats that consist of wooded pastures with scrub or open woodland. They can also be found in mixed-conifer and hardwood forests, too, and live in every US State except for Alaska.
As Wild Turkeys do not migrate, they live in places where there will be food year-round. They might move from one area to another, but these distances are relatively small.
The turkeys move to ensure that they have ample roosting and nesting space, as well as access to food.
What Do Turkeys Eat?
Wild turkeys are omnivores, which means they eat other animals as well as vegetables and other things. They are not very fussy eaters, and spend a lot of time foraging through the shrubbery for their next meal.
One of the reasons turkeys became so popular in the first place was because of their diet, which made them taste delicious. The particular food? Acorns, beechnuts, walnuts, and hickory nuts.
Other popular turkey means include berries, crabapples, and wild grapes, seeds and grains, large insects, and even small reptiles like snakes and lizards.
They will happily eat foliage from plants, too, like shoots and grass, and they have also been known to enjoy fleshy parts of plants.
These fleshy plants can include bulbs, roots, cacti, buds, and succulents, so wherever they go, they will have food! Worms, slugs and snails are also popular delicacies among the turkey population.
These birds will even swallow small gravel and sand, which helps them digest their food properly.
In captivity and on farms, these same turkeys will be fed commercially formulated feed, which help them get bigger than they do in the wild.
This is done in the name of profit so that the birds can be larger and heavier in every way. However, there are farmers who pride themselves in raising birds that are allowed to forage for their own food and live a more natural life.
Where Do Adult Turkeys Sleep?
Do turkeys sleep in trees? The answer is yes! Turkeys sleep in trees, primarily to avoid predators. These birds will fly up to the spot they wish to roost in for the night, and spend the night off the ground.
They will find a comfortable spot, probably near the top of the tree, and perch on there, leaving their head to hang down as they sleep.
Where Do Young Turkeys Sleep?
What about the young turkey, though? Since young turkeys cannot fly, they also cannot reach the roosting areas in trees. Turkey chicks will sleep on the ground, or at best, the lowest tree branches.
They might sleep in the nest where they hatched along with their other siblings and parents, too.
When turkey chicks are still too young to fly and sleep in safe spaces, the whole family will usually stick together, both for safety and warmth.
The nest areas are sought out immediately after mating. A turkey hen will pick a place what is hidden away and out of sight, typically under the trees and shrubbery, so predators do not spot it easily.
She might ‘dig’ an area out before collecting small branches, twigs, straw, feathers, and mulch to form her nest.
It is in this next that many turkey families will spend their nights before being able to join the rest of the flock roosting.
Turkeys are famous for the gobble – a very unique and interesting sound that almost everyone will be familiar with.
But why do they make this sound? Only turkey toms, or male turkeys, can gobble. They make this sound at who points in the year – spring and fall. In the spring, the male turkeys gobble to attract a mate.
The hens seem to be attracted to different gobbles, but cannot gobble themselves. When the male turkey gobbles in the fall, it is thought to be their way of indicating where they are.
Turkey toms can be territorial, so if there is too much gobbling going on, they might come into contact with another flock.
Instead of gobbling, hens will make various other vocalizations. This can include clucking, ‘yelping’, and chirping.
Male and female turkeys can cackle, and this is usually done when they are flying down from their roosts in the morning.
Both sexes will also frequently purr when they are walking together. Young turkeys will often whistle a few times when they are lost, and as they get older the sound becomes more raspy.
Final Thoughts On Turkeys
Turkeys are interesting birds, and definitely one of the most famous. It almost became the national bird because of Benjamin Franklin, but the Bald Eagle took its place.
Apparently, some people were not a fan of having the gobbler as their national bird. Either way, this bird is pretty unique and famous all over the world.
Now that you know how turkeys sleep, will you look at them differently next time they are on your Thanksgiving table?