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Learn About Wild Turkeys In Virginia

Virginia has around 180,000 turkeys, elusive in the woods and fields. Virginia’s wild turkeys weigh around 17-19 pounds. Males are dark brown with iridescent, bronze highlights, have an unfeathered red and blue head and neck, dangling red wattles, and a hairy beard hanging from their breast. Females are smaller, darker in color, have smaller wattles and less colorful feathers and heads than males. According to the Arlington Connection, "Wild turkeys may show up occasionally in parks, cemeteries, and backyards, but they prefer woodlands and open clearings where they can feed on acorns, seeds, berries, grass blades and sometimes frogs and snakes. When foraging, they scratch in the leaf litter." As per Arlington Connection, "Virginia has around 180,000 turkeys, reports Virginia’s Department of Wildlife Resources. In the 1920s, North American wild turkey populations hit historic lows and came close to extinction because of hunting, lumbering, and forests being converted to farmlands. Wildlife managers enhanced turkey habitats and transplanted turkeys to favorable habitats to help them survive. Virginia counties with “high” populations have 0.92 turkeys per square mile of turkey habitat. Today, Fairfax County is on the low end with 0.25 turkey per square mile of turkey habitat."

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