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 Wild Turkey

Status in Michigan

Early Spring Date

Late Fall Date
Note: Early and Late Dates are being researched.
Image Credits
Count totals in the NMB Databases for Wild Turkey.

Use the links below to view the Wild Turkey reports in the respective databases.
If there are zero sightings for a particular season, that database will return no results.

Active Database - Spring 2005
View Wild Turkey sightings.
Wild Turkey Archives Reports
Fall 2003 407
Spring 2003 237
Winter 02-03 343
Fall 2002 274
Summer 2002 48
Spring 2002 465
Winter 01-02 366
Fall 2001 373
Summer 2001 64
Spring 2001 283
Winter 00-01 395
Fall 2000 293
Summer 2000 65
Spring 2000 279
Winter 00-99 359
Fall 1999 415
Spring/Summer 1999 10

NMB Database
Seasonal Percentage Graph
For: Wild Turkey

Whitefish Point Bird Observatory
Active Database - Fall 2003
View Fall 2003 sightings.
Whitefish Point Bird Observatory Official Seasonal Count Summaries for the Wild Turkey
Fall 1999-Spring 2002
Wild Turkey
Note: Some species will not be present in the WPBO archives and will return no records.

Search "The Birds of Michigan" text.

Home - Foreword - Preface - Introduction - Hypothetical List - Literature Cited

Historical Text
The Birds of Michigan - by: Norman A. Wood
Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan, No. 75

Meleagris gallopavo silvestris Vieillot
Eastern Turkey (A.O.U. 1998: Wild Turkey)

Formerly a permanent resident north to Isabella and Bay counties. Extirpated before 1900.

First recorded for Michigan in a letter by Marquette in 1670.

The Eastern Turkey was apparently common in many areas of the Lower Peninsula until about 1875, but became increasingly rare thereafter. Because of the domestication of wild birds and the straying of domestic birds, it is quite likely that a few of the later records refer to feral stock.

A brood of wild turkeys was found in Monroe County as late as 1888 by Jerome Trombley (fide A. J. Cook, 1893o; 69), and a brood was taken at Plymouth, Wayne County, the same year by J. B. Purdy (fide A. J. Cook, 1893o; 69; and Swales, 1904: 43). A flock of 30 was noted about 1865, or 1867, and 3 turkeys were shot on November 19, 1875, in Lodi Township, Washtenaw County; 1 was shot by John A. Bortle at Ann Arbor on December 5, 1883. Henry Leeke shot the female of a pair he observed in Stockbridge Township, Ingham County, about 1892. In Calhoun County, where the wild turkey was still abundant in 1869 and "large flocks of half-breeds" were common (D. D. Hughes, fide J. A. Alien, 1871: 349-50), several birds were observed, and 2 shot, in the winter of 1873-74 (Walkinshaw, 1940: 28). There were still a few in Kalamazoo County in 1888, and apparently up to 1892 or 1893; a few in Van Buren County until 1892, and again a few in the winter of 1896-97 (F. H. Chapin, fide Barrows, 1912:236-37; and Shuver, 1898: 15-16). Turkeys were recorded, usually as common or abundant, north to Allegan County (Barrows, 1912: 236-37; A. Leopold, 1931: 191, map), where W. S. Walkley and Rollo Sherman shot a number in 1882 (near Bravo) and 1884 (southwest of Fennville), and north to Grand Rapids, where a specimen (Grand Rapids Mus.) was taken about 1880. They were numerous up to the middle 1880's north to Isabella County, according to R. H. Wolcott, and north to the Kawkawlin River, Bay County, according to Mershon (1923:34) and Eddy (1897:48). Wild turkeys were reported until the middle 1890's in both Van Buren and Bay counties, but the latest specimen (U.M.M.Z.) preserved was 1 shot in November, 1886, near Reece, Saginaw County (Mershon, 1923; frontispiece, 30-33). An attempt to introduce the species about 1905 on Grand Island, Alger County, far north of its normal range, apparently failed (Phillips, 1928: 10-11).

Several turkey bones (U.M.M.Z.) were found at the Younge Site, 9 miles north of Imlay City, Lapeer County, in an ash pit "of pre-Columbian times, probably not more than two or three centuries before the discovery of America" (Greenman, 1937: 21, 96-97).

Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan, No. 75
The Birds of Michigan
By: Norman A. Wood
University of Michigan Press
August 28, 2023

Digitized by: Keith F. Saylor
[email protected]

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Be sure to visit these websites for more sighting and banding counts.

Michigan Bird Records Committee Website.
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