John's Journal...

The Latest Turkey Research

Texas Turkeys, and Turkeys and Grape Vines

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: What have scientists learned about turkeys and turkey habitat that can help us understand turkeys better, learn how to provide better Click to enlargehabitat for them and find out why and when they gobble? State conservation agencies across the United States currently have conducted research projects in these areas with the help of the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF), the federal government and other conservation organizations. To learn the latest information, we’ve talked with Tom Hughes, senior wildlife biologist for the NWTF (

Texas Turkeys Need More Cottonwoods:
In recent years, the NWTF has become concerned because wild-turkey populations in some portions of northern Texas have declined. Through a research program funded by the NWTF, Hughes reports that, “We’ve learned just how important groves of cottonwood trees are to wild turkeys for their roost sites. Apparently, the bigger the area that cottonwood trees cover, the better and the safer the roost sites in those cottonwood trees are for the turkeys. We’ve also discovered that in regions that don’t have as many cottonwood trees, perhaps only a few acres, the turkey population has declined. As the heClick to enlargens and the poults begin to disperse and move to regions with even-smaller roost areas, eventually that population of turkeys will vanish.” To solve this problem, the state has made landowners more conscious of protecting and maintaining stream-site zones and replanting cottonwood trees to improve turkey habitat.

Turkeys Aren’t Eating Your Grapes:Click to enlarge
Vineyard owners in the East and the West have voiced their concerns that turkeys have eaten their wine grapes and damaged their vines. “To investigate, we set out 50-motion-sensor cameras in random patterns within some vineyards,” Hughes explains. “The results have proved that yes, wild turkeys have been very-frequent visitors to those vineyards but actually have eaten few of the grapes. However, we’ve learned from this research that when the sun sets, the raccoons and the deer come into the vineyards, eat most of the grapes and destroy the vines.”

Tomorrow: Gobbler Kidnappers

Check back each day this week for more about "The Latest Turkey Research"

Day 1: The Importance of Turkey Bands
Day 2: Texas Turkeys, and Turkeys and Grape Vines
Day 3: Gobbler Kidnappers
Day 4: The Role that Habitat and Predators Play in Turkey-Nesting Success
Day 5: The American Chestnut



Entry 395, Day 2