They live in southern Canada south to Florida and in spotty places throughout the west and into Mexico.
They live in open woodlands and clearings. They are often seen along roadways.
They look like tame turkeys except they are thinner with rusty-brown tail feathers instead of white. They are a huge bird, weighing up to 25 pounds. Instead of feathers on their face and neck, they have bumpy, loose skin. They have a large fan-shaped tail and spurs on their long, strong legs. Males are much larger and more colorful with a beard of loose skin (wattle).
They travel in flocks. In the winter, there can be as many as 200 birds to a flock. They sleep (roosting) in trees at night and run when startled. They can fly, but they don’t unless they have to.
They eat fruit, seeds, acorns, insects and tree buds.
Their nest is just a depression in some dead leaves on the ground. Females lay 4 – 17 white eggs with reddish spots. After they hatch, they follow the female and learn to find food. Females with babies join together to form big groups of 30 or more birds. Males do not help with caring for the young.
Species: M. gallopavo
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Amsel, Sheri. "Turkey (Wild)" Exploring Nature Educational Resource ©2005-2021. November 28, 2021
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