Above: Wild Turkey; photo by Dennis Swayze
What does it look like?
This plump, omnivorous game bird, as large or larger than a goose, has a small head with bare skin of variable colour, long legs and a rounded tail. Both sexes have a colourful iridescence to their dark plumage (although subdued in the female), and a light-coloured or rusty band at the end of the rump and at the tail-tip. The wings are patterned with bars of black and white.
Above: Wild turkey; photo by Gary Budyk
Does it migrate?
Above: Wild Turkey roosting neat Fannystelle; photo by Katharine Schulz
Wild Turkeys do not migrate, spending the winter in or near rural properties, woodlots and farmyards, where they can find shelter from the elements, as well as food.
Where do they live?
Above: Wild Turkey family near Whitemouth; photo by Peter Taylor
The warmer months may be spent in the areas mentioned above, as well as the margins of deciduous forests and in wooded river valleys. Agricultural fields and open pastures may also be frequented. Females are secretive during the breeding season.
Where can I see it?
Above: Wild Turkey males near Prawda; photo by Peter Taylor
Some reliable locations to find this species are in the Melita-Lyleton region, Lauder Sand Hills, the Pembina River Valley, Turtle Mountains; also, various locations from the Portage la Prairie area and southward.
Above: Wild Turkey family near Portage La Prairie; photo by Katharine Schulz
Over-hunting brought this species to near-extinction in the US and Canada in the early 1900s. Since then, the combination of conservation efforts, careful management and releases have allowed the species to rebound. In Manitoba, the number of “Wild” Turkey appears to be growing.
Did you know?
You can tell the sex of a turkey by the shape of their droppings – fresh male droppings are elongated or “j” shaped, the females' are spiral-shaped.
Written by Deanna Dodgson