Turkey Migration?

charlie elk
 
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Turkey Migration?

Postby charlie elk » January 30th, 2013, 10:38 am

At 7 this morning a flock of turkeys that been roosting on the same sheltered hillside took off flying NE and were still flying as they disappeared from my sight. I was on a knoll in an open 200 acre field and could see about 2 miles. About 20 minutes later another flock flying in formation about 80 yards up flew over my head going in the same direction- NE.

All of the fields around here are hard ice covered requiring ice cleats to walk across, even Vic with his sharp claws was slipping and sliding. There is no way turkeys can scratch up the waste grain although a lot of hanging seeds, fruits and nuts remain throughout the woods. After checking around I could find no turkeys in the area; so they must have left to find better fields to feed in? Why waste the energy searching when there is plenty to eat in the woods? The temperature here is 5 with a subzero windchill, -15 to -20. Given this I would have expected the turkeys to remain on roost in sheltered areas or maybe fly down and feed in the sheltered valleys.
Turkeys are wide ranging in this area, usually smaller groups will fly off to parts unknown. I have never seen large flocks of turkeys flying off in formations much like waterfowl do.
What the heck? Sure hope they migrate back in the spring. Thoughts anyone?
later,
charlie
If you agree with me call it fact; if you disagree - call it my opinion.
After all - we are talking turkey.

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Gopherlongbeards
 
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Re: Turkey Migration?

Postby Gopherlongbeards » January 30th, 2013, 7:43 pm

Wierd. Do they come back to roost in those trees at night still? If they do take a page out of the waterfowl playbook. Tomorrow be ready in your truck at flydown. When they take off, follow them and see where they land ;)

As far as why leave? Maybe they prefer waste grain to the forage available in the woods. Waste grain tends to be more concentrated than mast in the woods, able to feed more birds for a longer period. If they are still in as good condition as they were this fall/early winter maybe they have some energy to spare for searching out a new long term food source?

charlie elk
 
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Re: Turkey Migration?

Postby charlie elk » January 30th, 2013, 8:00 pm

During an afternoon break today Vic and I jumped in the truck went 10 miles in the turkey's general direction then circled back different routes. All we found were lonely vacant ice covered fields.
The turkeys did not return to the roost or any other I could see this evening, we were out there with the spotting scope until dark.

There have been a lot mallards flying north over the last couple of weeks perhaps the turkeys saw them, got imprinted and figured they'd give it a try!?

Tomorrow is the last the day grouse season, so, I have to do my saying good bye to the season ritual. That will give Vic a chance to find and point out some turkeys in the woods. However, if the forecast comes true with a single digit high, 30+ mph winds making the windchill some 40 below it will be a very short good bye. :lol:
later,
charlie
If you agree with me call it fact; if you disagree - call it my opinion.
After all - we are talking turkey.

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WillowRidgeCalls
 
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Re: Turkey Migration?

Postby WillowRidgeCalls » January 30th, 2013, 10:18 pm

My guess is that they headed to where ever they winter up. This year so far the weather hasn't been all that bad on them and I'm thinking that they haven't moved to their wintering grounds as of yet, they are flocked up but still staying in the same general area. Now that the ice has covered everything, they may have packed up and headed to the wintering grounds?
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charlie elk
 
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Re: Turkey Migration?

Postby charlie elk » January 31st, 2013, 8:32 am

Those turkeys usually winter here. This area is turkey wintering grounds. The hillside roost they left has held large flocks of turkeys for the last decade everyday during the winter.
Over a number of years habitat can change in ways we humans aren't in tune with or don't notice, perhaps that is changing for some reason. I sure hope not.
later,
charlie
If you agree with me call it fact; if you disagree - call it my opinion.
After all - we are talking turkey.

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WillowRidgeCalls
 
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Re: Turkey Migration?

Postby WillowRidgeCalls » January 31st, 2013, 11:35 am

We had a woods on a farm that the birds did that in. It used to be a great hunting spot and birds stayed in that wood all year long, then one year they left and have never come back to it. You won't find a bird in it even in the spring or all summer? Not sure just why they moved out of that area? Nothing is different in the woods as far as trimmings or wood being cut. The farmer didn't get a different dog or something that ran the woods every day, the crops are still planted, so nothing has changed there? Even looked it over to see if a pack of yotes moved in and made a den. The only thing I could think of is that the woods is over run with coon, but there hasn't been any hit on the roads around the farm either? Not sure why they left that area and haven't returned, it's been about 4 years since there was birds there, and none on the farms next to it either?
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charlie elk
 
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Re: Turkey Migration?

Postby charlie elk » January 31st, 2013, 3:21 pm

WillowRidgeCalls wrote:The only thing I could think of is that the woods is over run with coon, but there hasn't been any hit on the roads around the farm either? Not sure why they left that area and haven't returned, it's been about 4 years since there was birds there, and none on the farms next to it either?

Dang that's depressing. I made arrangements for trappers to work this woods and the surrounding woods because of the high coon population, I saw herds of the things this year. My thinking was coon raid nests which would hurt recruitment. There were a lot hens without poults in the area this fall.
Coyotes are in the area but their numbers have been pushed way down. A neighboring farm got a picture of a cougar on their trail cam but it has been moved out. Turkeys live out West with cougars and this was only one and only for a short time.
These turkeys had come in and setup in their traditional wintering areas as they usually do. In the spring they disperse with the resident turkeys sticking around. I have never seen flocks of turkeys in formation flying off. Perhaps, I happen to be in the right the place at the right time to see something that is more common than we think? There are times I can go most anywhere turkeys usually hang out and find no evidence of them ever having been there, later in week or 2 that area is again full of birds.
Looking at the area on a macro basis; the WDNR has ordered and completed large hardwood clear cuts out and around the county including on WMAs. I have worried they are destroying prime turkey habitat in the name deer and grouse. Those large old growth oaks are critical to supporting high turkey populations. Some of my best turkey hunting areas have been destroyed and will not grow back in my lifetime. Reminds me of the turkey habitat destruction in the Ozarks that Ray Eye wrote about.
Farmers have been bulldozing oak woodlots in order to gain a few more corn acres too.
Hmm...
later,
charlie
If you agree with me call it fact; if you disagree - call it my opinion.
After all - we are talking turkey.

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turkey junky
 
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Re: Turkey Migration?

Postby turkey junky » January 31st, 2013, 3:34 pm

think of the poor pheasants also bulldozing oaks & hardwood hurts turkeys as much as bulldozing & or cut n cattails dose i seen more of that this year then ever B4 in the name of A FEW MORE ACRES OF CORN!!! how much more greedy can these farmers get??? raising corn prices dose that to people!!! forget the woods to look at id rather look at barren corn fields??? what a mentality to have!!! same goes for the WIDNR lets wreck 1 species habitat in name for another!!!??? man what B/S!!!

charlie elk
 
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Re: Turkey Migration?

Postby charlie elk » January 31st, 2013, 5:06 pm

Actually a lot of the extra acres for corn are from USDA pressure not necessarily "greedy farmers" The government has subsidized and pushed the use of ethanol and now there is not enough of it so according to several farmers they have been instructed to create more acres both from woodlands and CRP lands. Also corn production is displacing other crops like alfalfa, oats, wheat etc. These too provide valuable waste grain to feed game birds.
You brought up cattails, I see cornfields around the state with cattails growing in them, hmm, guess what used to be there before the corn. Yeah our game birds are going to be taking some serious hits. I have opposed ethanol from the very beginning for this very reason. The only thing "green" about ethanol" is the color of the corn during the growing season otherwise I see it as a brown/black plague across the desolate landscape. Let's hope they do not perfect distilling wood based ethanol because if they do our forest will be vacuumed clean to produce it leaving no ground habitat for any wild creature.
Sorry, a little off topic for this thread as I can't blame the ethanol industry for the disappearance of these turkeys---YET.
later,
charlie
If you agree with me call it fact; if you disagree - call it my opinion.
After all - we are talking turkey.

charlie elk
 
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Re: Turkey Migration?

Postby charlie elk » February 13th, 2013, 10:57 am

On Sunday mid afternoon during a heavy ice storm some turkeys 50-60 flew back in formation just as they had when they left and landed in the traditional roost trees. What I do not know is if these are the same turkeys or not. How would one know without having marked them in some way?
Happy to have turkeys back in the area.
What brought them back? I do not know.
The trapper has completed his season. There are fewer predators around now.
The snow in the valley, surprisingly is not iced over.
The turkeys have been spending most of their days fluttering around the tips of tree branches in the manner of giant hummingbirds. I assume they are eating buds and bugs from between the bark.

Some might wonder-
What was charlie doing out in an ice storm?
mrs elk thinks he has gone crazy and is thinking about seeking professional help. :lol:
later,
charlie
If you agree with me call it fact; if you disagree - call it my opinion.
After all - we are talking turkey.

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