Turkeys have sometimes been referred to as feathered goats when it comes to their eating habits. The wild turkey’s diet is very diverse. It might be easier to list what they don’t eat rather than trying to come up with a list of things they do eat.
When I kill a turkey, I always inspect its crop contents. Sometimes referred to as the craw by our southern friends. The crop clearly shows what turkeys are feeding in a given area. The crop is an enlarged muscle area of the esophagus near the gullet or throat.. See #4 on A.E. Shipley’s diagram.
OK you’re on the ball the diagram is a pigeon, that’s fine because almost all birds have crops. One exception that may be of interest to hunters are geese; they do not have a crop. I continue to be surprised by the number of bird hunters I meet who do not regularly open the crops of harvested birds to determine what they are eating.
Images of wild turkey crops and their contents.
A lot of hunters assume turkeys eat primarily agricultural crops and focus their hunting efforts on these fields; this is understandable since field turkeys are the easiest to see. Unfortunately, hunters who primarily focus on fields are missing out on a lot good turkey hunting in all the other out of sight areas.
Many assume wild turkeys primarily eat agriculture crops. They do, but it’s the waste they go after not the standing crops. Think feathered goat.
- How can you say turkeys eat the waste grain when I see them feeding in fields before harvest?