Snowfall affects wild turkeys by limiting their movements and blocking their access to food sources. During such severe conditions, turkeys may be lost to starvation. Weakened birds are also more susceptible to predation. However, if food is available, turkeys can withstand very cold temperatures. Wild turkeys in good condition can usually survive up to 2 weeks before a significant number die.
The effect of snow includes not only the snow's depth, and the length of time it is on the ground, but also its condition. Fluffy powdered snow is more limiting to turkeys than crusted snow. Although turkeys cannot dig through snow deeper than about 6 inches, they also cannot walk any distance through snow deeper than 1 foot. If powdery snow prevails, turkeys may remain on the roost until it crusts or melts, but, with crusted snow, they may be able to walk to above-ground food sources.
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