Discover Nature: Wild Turkeys | KBIA

Discover Nature: Wild Turkeys

May 9, 2016

This week on Discover Nature, listen for wild turkeys gobbling in Missouri woods and grasslands.

A popular gamebird, the wild turkey is found in mixed forests and grasslands statewide.
Credit Missouri Department of Conservation


This popular gamebird, once a contender for our national bird, makes many other vocal sounds as well. 

Adult males – called ‘Toms’ – are large and dark, with a bare, red, white, and blue head, long legs, and bronzy feathers.  Males, and some females, have a tuft of hair-like bristles – called a ‘beard’ – in the middle of the breast.  Females are smaller and less iridescent. 

In the spring, males begin gobbling and strutting, spreading their tails like a peacock to attract mates.  After mating, females care for their young alone, creating shallow nests on the ground.    

In the 1950s turkeys reached an all-time low with fewer than 2500 birds in 14 Missouri counties.  Through decades of dedicated conservation efforts, Missouri now boasts an estimated turkey population of more than 300-thousand.

Discover Nature is heard Tuesday afternoon and Thursday morning on KBIA. It is brought to you by the Missouri Department of Conservation.

Discover Nature is a production of the Missouri Department of Conservation.