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Old 11-05-2009, 08:55 PM   #1
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Default Turkey food plants

When looking at the idea of a turkey food plot, the following llist is what I came upon repeatedly. My goal had been to work on a woodland edge grassland area suitable for actual songbird nesting and to provide turkey food. I did not succeed in planning this - it was frustrating. The most frustrating topic I've tried to take on. I could find nothing on what a homeowner can effectively do to help birds which require grass and food plot areas, only game land management. I still have a zillion questions.

American Beech - Fagus grandifolia
American Hazelnut - Corylus americana
Apple - Malus pumila
Arrowwood viburnum - Viburnum dentatum
Aspen/poplar - Populus
Bayberry - Myrica
Chestnut - Castanea
Crabapples - Malus
Dogwood - Cornus
Eastern Red Cedar - Juniperus virginiana
Elders - Sambucus
Flatwoods Plum - Prunus umbellata
Gooseberry - Ribes
Hackberry - Celtis
Hawthorns - Crataegus
Huckleberry, Blueberry - Vaccinium
Mountain Ash - Sorbus americana
Quercus family
Sumacs - Rhus
White pine - Pinus strobus
Wild Grape - Vitis
Winterberry - Ilex verticillata
Witchhazel - Hamamelis virginiana

Chufa, soybeans, grasses, clover seem to be the most important turkey food plot plants.

Craig Harper publishes the best information I have found: Craig A. Harper

He does provide some dimensions which are outstanding, but again it is tailored to wildlife management on a large scale.
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Old 11-05-2009, 09:12 PM   #2
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Excellent list, Random. Thank you so much for pulling it together. I have not heard of the poplar being a turkey food, or the Prunus umbellata. I have heard that the hips of Rosa carolina and virginiana can be a draw for turkeys, too, so I planted several seedlings of virginiana this past spring. Early transitional types of habitat can be done on as little as one acre, I have been told (by a researcher at a U. of MD environmental research lab).

What are your primary oaks? Around here it is Q. marilandica (blackjack), bicolor (swamp white), ilicifolia (scrub, usually a prolific acorn bearer), nigra (water), phellos (willow), and of course, palustris.
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Old 11-05-2009, 09:45 PM   #3
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That is wonderful information you have unearthed.
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Old 11-06-2009, 01:08 AM   #4
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Don't forget poison ivy, greenbrier, partridgeberry, and sedges. There have got to be more. Poison ivy fruits are invaluable to migrating birds too.
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Old 11-06-2009, 06:00 AM   #5
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Sedges throw me. I stuck that on something to study after I got the woods under control. It's been two years of me battling invasive plants, thinning and this was the first year I could actually plant. I've had my head full trying to ID things and learn. My focus has been understory (I have none - I mean none, and no floor) so the grassland went on the back burner. There are several missing. Spicebush, Prunus angustifolia - Chickasaw Plum, Castanea pumila - Ash's Chinquapin, gopher apple, bearberry...much I have planted but that was the primary list.

Grassland birds are hurting. While the trend for backyard habitat has grown this is a neglected topic IMO. It may be because it's just not practical for the homeowner. I have planted food like crazy but no nesting sites, what good is that?

By golly I have oak. Scarlet, white, northern red, swamp, southern red. I'm lucky that there were plenty of oak, pine and dogwood here already. We've had oaks dying like mad in GA so I am holding my breath. Nice acorn crop this year which is good. Last year was zero, very bad. This year my dogwood berries got wiped out.
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Old 11-06-2009, 08:57 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Random View Post
This year my dogwood berries got wiped out.
What happened - did the weather get them, or did the wildlife snack them away too soon?
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Old 11-06-2009, 04:49 PM   #7
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Turkey habitat sounds interesting.
After reading a couple of your postings mentioning turkey habitat,I found a lot of really good information at the New York State Department Of Environmental Conservation.

Wild Turkey - NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation

I thought a good suggestion mentioned was for those without enough land to provide all of the space and habitat turkeys might need.
It said to look around and see what is provided nearby then try on your own land for a specific area of that habitat that seems lacking.

Turkey habitat
Wild Turkey Habitat Management - NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation


Brood habitat
Wild Turkey Brood Habitat - NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation

Quote:
After the poults hatch, they require good brood habitat for survival and growth.
Brood habitat generally consists of grasses and forbes that will encourage the insects
that the poults need as a food supply for growth. The ground cover needs to be dense enough to encourage insects,
but not so dense as to inhibit the poults' movement.
Late summer fall habitat
Wild Turkey Late Summer and Fall Habitat - NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation

Nesting habitat
Wild Turkey Nesting Habitat - NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation

Winter habitat
Wild Turkey Winter Habitat - NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation
Quote:
Thermal cover: Conifer stands provide a wind break,
protection from extreme cold and limit snow depth under the stand allowing turkeys to be mobile.
Provide several acres of conifer trees for every hundred acres of habitat.
Hemlock or white pine are good but most species of native conifers will help.
Travel Corridors: During deep snow conditions turkeys will use travel corridors created by conifer cover.
By providing narrow strips of conifer cover between other habitat types, turkey will be able to move more freely
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Old 11-06-2009, 04:56 PM   #8
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The really interesting thing was how it got you thinking through the life cycle of the turkey and how different land uses work together for some creatures.
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Old 11-06-2009, 05:40 PM   #9
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Gloria, I am really looking forward to going through those links this evening. Thanks so much for hunting them down!
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Old 11-06-2009, 06:32 PM   #10
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Gloria great links. Arrgh more reading, my brain hurts! But it's so interesting!!

What I had determined we needed was grassland. Hopefully I'll get back to it as I have a space set aside just for that. When studying up on turkeys their lives were not at all what I thought. Interesting bird.

biigblueyes I have no idea why the dogwood berries fell. We've had record amounts of rain but they were going like gangbusters and one day WHAM! A carpet of berries on the ground. This is the first year trees have some room and sun due to invasive, crowding and they really responded. I was bummed as dogwoods are my only mature berry plants.
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