Curious Kids Facts: Where Do Turkeys Sleep?

Joan Agie
Oct 06, 2023 By Joan Agie
Originally Published on Oct 12, 2021
Farm male turkey outdoor.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.4 Min

Turkeys are unique and fascinating and animals that deserve to be protected.

You may know of turkey thanks to Thanksgiving. However, here are some other cool facts about the Meleagris gallopavo's sleeping styles and more!

Due to the growth in urbanization, several turkeys often stroll into backyards looking for food. Some of us find this a nuisance, while others tend to be scared.

The first way you can solve this problem is by not feeding this bird.

More than eliminating food that you serve first-hand, you will need to get rid of garbage and bird seeds that are spilled on the ground. Although a turkey may look big and scary, they get easily scared by noises or someone opening an umbrella.

These animals usually exhibit a pecking order of dominance and often chase those who act fearful.

While young turkeys are easy to tame, adult wild turkeys are generally wary of humans and may not be friendly. It is important for you and your family to act dominant by using the tips we mentioned above which will scare the wild turkey and cause it to flee!

If you enjoyed reading, why not also read about our other fun facts articles: wild turkey facts and where do rats live on Kidadl!

Where do wild turkeys sleep in the winter?

Wild turkeys roost or sleep in trees at night or post dusk during the winter and when the weather may be cold.

It is a popular notion that the turkey can't fly. However, turkeys can fly.

Very often predators like coyotes love hunting turkeys in the wild. Therefore, for protection reasons and so no other predators hunt them down, turkeys roost on trees. This sort of behavior is commonly known as roosting.

In this way, they don't fall prey to animal hunting. However, they can't roost over the height of 52.4 ft (16 m) as they have very poor night vision. The poor night vision is also one of the reasons why they can't be on the ground at night as they are victims of predator hunting.

A turkey in the wild often prefers mature, big trees over smaller ones. The branches of the bigger ones are sturdier and provide the space and support for several turkeys to roost at a time.

Most often, this bird prefers pine trees over others where it creates its habitat. This is because they are available year long and the forest area below is the cleanest to take off and land.

Although a single pine tree does the job well, they prefer clusters. Turkeys dislike roosting in cedar trees as they are very dense and it is a task to get in and out of them.

Other preferences include roosting on trees that are beside the water and on the edges of cliffs. During the daytime, turkeys search for food or what is known as foraging.

While doing so, the wild turkey will use one foot at a time after rubbing both feet. It then pecks at the ground to find food.

Sometimes, they will pick a fruit or two off plants. However, when they are on the branches of the trees, they very rarely forage.

Once they find food on the ground, when consuming, the turkey has a habit of feeding on the food whole, which is then digested little by little at later stages. While digestion takes place, turkeys roost on trees at night.

Once they have consumed the food they require for the day and the sun slowly starts to set, turkeys in the wild will look for trees where they can spend their time at night. This bird rarely sticks to the same trees as when foraging for food, turkeys usually move from place to place.

Once they find the perfect spot where they can roost on trees at night, they usually fly to branches of trees with the help of their wings.

However, it must be remembered that wild turkeys are unable to fly long distances.

A short trip from the ground to different branches of the trees can be carried out successfully. Turkeys are quite secretive when it comes to finding their roosts.

Due to the fear that other predators such as other birds, mammals, and reptiles may hunt them, they march to their respective roosts in a silent manner. Once they are comfortable in their respective roosting spots, turkeys in the wild will often have long conversations with their folk mates.

Many a time, they may hop around and flutter their wings in the attempt of finding the perfect and safe position.

Once they have found a perfect spot among the many sites that they look for and the night starts to set in, the turkey will tuck its head under one of their wings and doze off. In general, a turkey in the wild will not migrate during the winter when the weather may be towards the colder side.

However, when fall comes, they may wander, looking for sites that have bigger trees and a dense canopy so they feel warmer.

It is essential for these birds to be good at flying because they do not migrate.

Flying is common between different trees with the help of their wings during heavy snow in the winter when the weather is very cold or when natural disasters such as blizzards strike. They prepare for the harsh winter by feeding heavily during fall.

Once spring arrives, they go back to their regular routine. However, they still remain alarmed about any hunting that may arise from the predator's side.

They do not sleep while laying but sleep in a sitting posture while tucking their heads in their necks, instead of their wings.

Male Wild Turkey with Tail Feathers.

Where do baby turkeys sleep?

It is natural that just like humans, young wild turkeys too enjoy the comfort and safety that comes with being with their mother.

After breeding and the hatching of the eggs, during the initial weeks of its life, a young turkey will be found sleeping or roosting among the feathers of the mother turkey that are soft. However, this is not on a tree branch and rather is in a nest on the ground.

A turkey will usually nest around some dead leaves and below the trees. The nests of a turkey can usually be found below thick shrubbery and huge bush piles.

Sometimes, when there isn't a significant threat of predators such as snakes and crows, the mother may nest in open hayfields.

A depression is made into the soil by the mother. A turkey will make use of the dead plant material and dry leaves in the area to build its respective nests.

At a time, they usually lay about 4-17 eggs. The eggs look pale yellow and sometimes may be accompanied by a few pinkish and reddish-brown spots.

The incubation period of a turkey is around 25-31 days and it spends just one day nestling. After a month or so of birth when the baby turkeys are ready, they fly to a low branch on a short tree where they once again sleep in trees with or roost under their parent's cozy feathers.

After a while, these baby turkeys begin to roost like the grown-ups. However, even then the mother remains to be protective of her children, until the next mating season.

Do turkeys snore?

Some wild turkeys may be heavy snorers as soon as they tuck their head between their wings to roost for the night.

However, some others don't make use of their head and feathers. Having a heavy meal of turkey on Thanksgiving can certainly make us humans feel drowsy and snore.

However, not all turkeys snore.

Some researchers claim to have heard them snore while others have different views. One of the other famous sounds that turkeys in the wild often make is somewhat like their version of the rooster's call.

Male turkeys, also known as gobblers, often make this loud, shrill sound that lasts for about a second. These animals often gobble when on tree branch roosts as the sound can be heard better than when delivered on land.

It may be used to attract females or as a response to other males. Sometimes one call can lead to several other of these male birds responding in the same manner.

Another sound that both male and female birds often make is the cackle, which is a soft, short purr that is left out when they fly down from tree branches.

Turkeys make also let out a series of yelps and consider this an order for a scattered group to reassemble themselves. Baby wild turkeys often whistle three to four times when they are lost, which helps them reach the rest of the flock.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for curious kids facts: where do turkeys sleep? then why not take a look at how tall is wolverine really meant to be? Knowing your comics or how rare are 4 leaf clovers? Odds of finding four-leaf clover.


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Written by Joan Agie

Bachelor of Science specializing in Human Anatomy

Joan Agie picture

Joan AgieBachelor of Science specializing in Human Anatomy

With 3+ years of research and content writing experience across several niches, especially on education, technology, and business topics. Joan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Human Anatomy from the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria, and has worked as a researcher and writer for organizations across Nigeria, the US, the UK, and Germany. Joan enjoys meditation, watching movies, and learning new languages in her free time.

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