Wilderness watch: The Wild Turkey

The wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) is the heaviest member of the order of Galliformes, an upland ground bird native to North America, and one of two extant species of turkey.

Wild turkeys like areas with hardwood and mixed conifer-hardwood forests with scattered openings such as pastures, fields, orchards and seasonal marshes. These birds seemingly can adapt to virtually any dense native plant community as long as coverage and openings are widely available. They can be spotted in the North Georgia mountains as well as woodland areas throughout the State.

Due to their size wild turkeys are relatively heavy birds. Therefore, many misinterpret that Wild Turkeys may not be able fly or are not good fliers. In fact, this is not true as wild turkeys are very powerful fliers that can reach speeds of up to 55 miles per hour, thanks to their broad, rounded wing.

Find information about wild turkeys.