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Popular Misconceptions About Wild Turkeys

This Turkey Tuesday is about popular misconceptions as they relate to wild turkeys. The other day, I was looking through older articles and books on wild turkeys, and I stumbled across a popular article written by the late Lovett Williams. In it, he discussed misconceptions about the wild turkey, and I must admit, I found the article interesting – since nearly all of what he wrote about still pops up from time to time when people talk and post about wild turkeys. Here’s a few of my favorites still being talked about decades after Lovett wrote that article. One, that wild turkeys raised in captivity could be used to restock populations or bolster those that are declining, which Lovett touched on in the 2nd image. The fact is, the release of pen-reared wild turkeys was and still is a colossal failure and didn’t contribute to restoring the populations we enjoy today – nor will doing so help populations declining in many areas. Two, that wild turkeys will stand in pouring rain and open their beaks to the sky, essentially drowning themselves. Like Lovett, I struggle to think how that idea started! There’s no data or research to even hint that turkeys would do such a thing. Three, and one of my favorites, that toms will trample and destroy nests, which was actually written about by John James Audubon. With tens of thousands of nests monitored through decades of research, not a single instance of toms destroying nests has ever been documented or observed. The take home is that misconceptions are part of life, we all deal with them constantly, but it’s sure funny to see how some refuse to go away despite nothing credible to support them.

Photo by Nancy Lee.

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