Turkey Habitat – Rio Grande


rio grande turkey.jpgIn Kansas and Oklahoma, Rio Grande turkeys roost in cottonwood, sycamore and hackberry trees along streams and sometimes adjacent to grain fields. Down in Texas, the beating heart of Rio country, the birds sleep in the tallest live oak or cottonwood trees on ranches, especially stands that rim creek or rivers. Good roost trees are few and far between on many open, mesquite-laced ranches (sometimes turkeys roost on power poles and fence posts). In the fall it is not uncommon to find 100 or more birds packed into a single tight stand of big trees. In the spring 20 or more longbeards, along with gaggles of hens and jakes, might roost side by side in tall oaks or cottonwoods.

Rio’s strut all over the place in their open habitat during the spring mating season. But many gobblers prefer sections of crop fields or pastures near creeks or stock tanks, especially if thick hen-nesting cover is nearby. When the sun shimmers white-hot on the plains in midmorning and afternoon, hens loaf and feed and toms strut in cool, shady oak groves.


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