What Do Wild Turkeys Eat In The Winter?

What do wild Turkeys eat in the winter? The wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) is an iconic and adaptable bird species native to North America.

Renowned for its striking plumage and distinctive gobbling calls, the wild turkey is a highly resourceful creature that has successfully adapted to a variety of habitats.

As winter descends upon the landscape, the challenges for wild turkeys intensify, and their dietary preferences shift in response to the changing environment.


What Do Wild Turkeys Eat In The Winter?

1. Insects:

What Do Wild Turkeys Eat In The Winter
Wild Turkeys Will Feed On Insects During Winter

Although it’s not the ideal season to search the ground for insects, turkeys nevertheless manage to discover them during the winter.

The turkey’s strong legs allow it to dig fairly deeply into the ground and even tip over rocks that may be home to many insects.

Insects and arachnids that hibernate throughout the winter months may thaw out and become active on warmer winter days, making them easy prey.


Read also: How To Keep Wild Turkeys Out Of Your Yard


2. Nuts:

What Do Wild Turkeys Eat In The Winter
Wild Turkeys Will Feed On Nuts During Winter

They might also come to find an acorn, beech nut, or hickory nut when they are in the trees. All of them are significant components of the winter diet of the turkey.

They are high in calories and fat, which helps the turkeys stay at a healthy weight during the winter.

Eating nuts also has the added benefit of occasionally containing insects, which turkeys consume. Even when there is some snow on the ground, nuts can still be found there that the turkeys trample up.

3. Berries:

What Do Wild Turkeys Eat In The Winter
Wild Turkeys Will Feed On Berries During Winter

Berries are a major component of the diet of wild turkeys during the chilly winter months. Berries grow on certain shrubs and trees, such as holly, even in very cold weather.

The turkeys will either soar to a low branch or use their powerful legs to propel themselves there, where they may gather the delicious berries and safely avoid harm.

Turkeys are, after all, quite low on the food chain, and, like many other creatures, predators suffer during the winter.

4. Grasses:

What Do Wild Turkeys Eat In The Winter
Wild Turkeys Will Feed On Grass During Winter

Turkeys will eat grass when they are on the ground and will dig it up when the snow covers it.

It provides fibre, protein, and hydration. Grass grows readily everywhere, so turkeys don’t need to expend much energy finding it.

5. Leftover Grain:

What Do Wild Turkeys Eat In The Winter
Wild Turkeys Will Feed On Leftover Grain During Winter

Grain fields are fascinating for turkeys to explore once the plough has passed through. Grains such as corn, soybeans, wheat, and others often fall behind.

They provide some sustenance for the avian masses, but they will be sharing with a multitude of other creatures.

6. Trees:

What Do Wild Turkeys Eat In The Winter
Wild Turkeys Will Feed On Trees During Winter

Trees provide moisture and fibre in their new growth, which might be scarce in the winter. They continue to consume whatever makes sense after they have climbed a tree and are eating berries.

It has been observed that these charming birds toss blossoms, berries, and insects to their fellow flock members.


Read also: What is a Baby Turkey Called? Turkey Identification


7. Lichen:

What Do Wild Turkeys Eat In The Winter
Wild Turkeys Will Feed On Lichen During Winter

The lichen that grows on or around trees, along with everything else about them, seems to be rather tasty to a hungry turkey.

Both of them are high in fibre, high in protein, and high in carbohydrates, which provides the turkeys the energy to jump into those trees and roam around somewhat aimlessly.


Read also: What is a Group of Turkeys Called? Turkey Power



The winter diet of wild turkeys unveils a fascinating tale of adaptability and resourcefulness, showcasing the remarkable strategies these birds employ to navigate the challenges of the colder months.

During winter, wild turkeys shift their focus from insects and fruits, which may become scarce, to a more herbaceous and grain-based diet.

Seeds, grains, and buds become staples, providing essential nutrients to sustain them through the harsh winter conditions.

Understanding these dietary adaptations is crucial not only for appreciating the resilience of wild turkeys but also for informing conservation efforts and habitat management practices.

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