Wild Turkeys in Minnesota

Wild Turkeys in Minnesota

by Carolyn Laursenwild turkey silhouette

Wild Turkeys are commonly seen around the Twin Cities metro area in Minnesota. I see them most often in the spring; the males strut up and down the street gobbling, completely unaware of how out of place they are. We often have as many as twelve turkeys flying in and out of our yard, pecking at the ground.

wild turkeys in the backyard Minnesota

The Wild Turkey population in Minnesota is larger than it has been in the last 100 years.   Due to overhunting and habitat destruction these birds used to be a rare sight in the southern half of Minnesota.  Now, the population has successfully rebounded and we often have sightings of turkeys, frequently in suburban and even urban areas. In fact, Wild Turkeys are now found in all of the contiguous 48 states.
There’s a chance that you know someone named Tom, which is also what adult male turkeys are called.  Other turkeys have human-like names as well; young male turkeys are called jakes, young females are jennies, and adult females are…hens.  Well, they can’t all fit the pattern, can they?
Turkeys will begin eating acorns as soon as they begin falling from the trees, which happened around September.  The acorns are swallowed whole and ground up in the gizzard.  A gizzard is basically a specialized stomach with thick, muscular walls that grinds tough foods.  In addition to acorns, turkeys eat a wide variety of foods, including grasses, buds, insects, berries, grains, and frogs and snakes.
wild turkeys in the twin cities metro
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