Male turkey courtship display
Male turkey courtship display


Animal - Wild Turkey

Why this Animal?
I chose the wild turkey because turkey is my favorite food at Thanksgiving.I just wanted to learn more things about them.I think wild turkeys are interesting animals. Although wild turkerys aren't the same as the ones we eat. I have never ate a wild turkey, but I have seen them in my back yard. Wild Turkeys live in open woodlands and forests with lots of clearings and meadows. They eat berries, insects and acorns. Wild turkeys can be found in most parts of North America. The males are bigger than the females. Also males have more tail feathers and have more color to them. Both male and females have dark color feathers that help them blend while in the woods. Their necks are called Caruncle and are grey unless they are upset or ready to mate with eachother then it turns a bright red. Female turkeys are called hens and the male is called tom or gobbler. A baby turkey is refered to as a poult or chick. Wild turkeys can fly short distances but the ones we eat can't because they are to heavy..All and all this is why I like this animal. While doing this I learned that Benjamin Franklin wanted to make the wild turkey, instead of the bald eagle as our national bird of the United States. I also learned that wild turkeys could fly.

Food Web

Research Location:
I’m here in Illinois behind my house in the woods. It’s a beautiful summer day approximately 70F. Right at the edge of the forest I see wild turkeys. I also see Bald Eagle flying high above the trees. There, I see white tail deer eating grass in the distance and see two chipmunks chasing each other up a American Beech tree. I’m here laying on a carpet of moss watching the wild turkeys in the tall grass.The turkeys are so close to trees that their color blends in, which help them so predators can’t find them. Wild turkeys seek shelter in low hanging branches at night and feed off the small seeds and animals in their surroundings. They also get their water resources from rivers and streams near by. All and all this is what I found when I went on my adventure to research about wild turkeys.

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Observation Journal:
Day 1-My friend and I decide to take a road trip to Sandusky, Ohio to the Cedar Point Amusement Park. After 8 hours and 28 minutes we got there, when we got there we saw a wild turkey so me and my friend decided we wanted to research them.
Day 2-Me and my friend started looking for wild turkeys so while we were driving we found a path that we went into the woods and i was looking through a binocular I saw a couple of wild turkey by a tree eating insects with its beak. I almost didn’t see it because it was camouflage with the trees my friend had to stop so I could see it. While I was watching the turkeys I notice that their feet help them kill animals like this snake I just saw it get ate by the turkey.
Day 3-I am going to talk about basic needs. For my animal to survive it needs food, water and shelter. Wild turkeys find their water from rivers or streams in the woods. They also find their food like fruit, nuts and animals like snake, bugs, and berries. Their shelter is under trees that help them hide from predators and it also protects them from rain.
Day 4-I am going to talk about behaviors.One behavior is the wild turkey stays in packs.Second behavior is it uses it’s claws to on grab branches and snakes and scratch in the dirt for bugs .Another one is they use their feathers to fly and male turkeys use their feathers to attract females. Majority of the day turkeys spend their free time looking for bugs and small seeds. Finally they have at least 15 different calls to talk with each other.
Day 5-Male turkey use calls to call for females or challenge other male turkeys in their area. Their calls can be heard up to a mile away when calling for a female. One male will reproduce with many females in the area. Female turkeys are the only ones that raise the babies. Turkeys are social animals that form groups, called bands. Some are dominant over others and become territorial of their area.
-Wild turkeys interact in the ecosystem by either being preditor's to other smaller animals or prey to larger animals including humans. They eat nuts and seeds of plants therefore impacting plant production. They also provide a home to at least 60 different species or parasites.
-The symbolics of a wild turkey are: Commensalism example is the turkey and parasite. The turkey isnt harmed by it but the parasite lives on the turkey. Mutualism example is farmer's crops and wild turkey. Wild turkey has shelter to hide from preditors also eats bugs that live on the crops. The plants benefit from the turkey scratching the soil allowing water to get into the soil easier and also fertilizes the crops. They also eat bugs that could protentually harm the plant. Therefore each benefit one another. Parasitism example is the turkey and the lizard. The turkey eats the lizard for food while the lizard tries to run away before he is ate. Therefore on gets benefit while the other one is harmed.

Wildlife Monitoring Technique (GPS)
I put a GPS in my wild turkey leg that helps me know where its at.It also tells me its habitat and it beeps to show if it is resting,moving or if its dead.slow beeps means its resting,medium beeps show its moving and fast beeps means its dead.Radio GPS is the best technique because it is the only device out there that helps us know where there at all time.Wild turkeys move alot and thats what the map above shows.All and all thats why GPS works the best.

Fellow Researcher Profile:Clay Nielsen and Ryan Tebo are also researching wild turkeys. Ryan Tebo is a graduate student working with Clay Nielsen on the research project for University of Illinois. They are trying to capure wild turkeys for their project. Clay, Ryan and I are all studying about wild turkeys.They have found that wild turkeys are in packs but you mostly see them in fall and winter.They found during reseaching the wild turkey that you can tell their age by the length and fullness of their feathers. Finally they have found out how you can tell if its a female or male by its feathers and what their behavor like they spend most of their life walking on ground.

Using the research:
The limiting factors that affect wild turkeys are the following: humans, habitat, prey and enviroment/ climate. Humans hunt turkeys for food therefore controlling the population. Humans also drive cars that can potentially hit the turkey. When humans cut down forests and put in subdivisions turkeys have less shelter and become prey to more animals. Enviroment can affect turkeys by cold winters which make food supply harder to find. Also babys dying because of cold. Rivers and ponds freeze so turkeys don't have any water supply.Droughts also can affect water supply, making water harder to find for the turkey.Climate changes can also affect other animals food sources making them hunt turkeys because of their limited food supply.

Animal Diversity Web Staff, Kari Kirschbaum, and Jason McCullough University of Michigan. "Critter Catalog." BioKIDS. Ed. Alaine Camfield Animal Diversity Web. Interagency Education Research Initiative, 2002. Web. 20 Feb. 2012.
"Southern Illinois University Carbondale." Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Cooperative Wildlife Research Laboratory, 2008. Web. 16 Feb. 2012.
"Wild Turkey." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Web. 15 Feb. 2012.
"Blue Planet Biomes - World Biomes." Blue Planet Biomes. Web. 13 Feb. 2012.
"Wild Turkey." FCPS Home Page Redirect Page. Web. 14 Feb. 2012. <>.