Thanksgiving is the kickoff to the holiday season. Thanksgiving is marked by pumpkin pie, cranberry sauce and turkey. Many of us see turkeys at our bird feeders in winter or as we are driving the back roads of the county.
Since the successful reintroduction of the wild turkey in 1976 the species has flourished in Wisconsin's woodlands. With the success of the species Wisconsin is ranked number one in the nation for turkey harvests. The abundance of natural habitat coupled with the large number of farm fields makes Wisconsin a turkey paradise. There are several different wild turkey varieties in the United States, but the Eastern variety inhabits all of Wisconsin. The Eastern Wild Turkeys lay between 10 and 12 eggs in the spring; within seven days of hatching the young poults can fly. As they grow their eyesight will keep them safe from prey and their strong legs will enable them to reach speeds of nearly 30 mph.
From only a couple hundred wild turkeys in Wisconsin in the mid 1970‘s to a healthy population of around 500,000 today, the wild turkey is a conservation success story.