We’ve had turkeys in our yard often over the past few weeks. It turns out that Summit County has an ever-growing population of wild turkeys. Our first sighting was on Easter morning when we saw 2 – it wasn’t the Easter Bunny but it was just as exciting! Yesterday, we saw 10 wild turkeys in our back yard!! I’ve never seen so many wild turkeys in my life and it was very neat to see.
About 200,000 wild turkeys call Ohio home. Wild turkeys have been spotted in every Summit County Metro Park, particularly at Liberty Park in Twinsburg around the boardwalk. There is power in numbers for turkeys to stay safe from our coyote population and Ohio big cats (Bobcats, Mountain Lions, Cougars and Leopards) population – that is probably why we saw 10 at a time!. Ohio turkeys can be up to 24 pounds and 4 foot tall as they are the largest game bird on the entire continent.
Wild turkeys prefer to live in forested areas but are highly adaptable and can live many places if there is a food source (grass, insects, leaves, grains, acorns, and plants) and if there are trees for roosting at night. There was a turkey named Frank that lived in Cuyahoga Falls in February, our very own Kristen filmed him chasing her car and it made it on the news!
Unfortunately Frank didn’t make it when he was hit by a car so maybe they should try to stay in less populated areas.
In the early 1900s they went extinct in Ohio because forests were cleared for agriculture and hunting had no restrictions. They were reintroduced to Ohio a couple times in the 1950’s and 10 years later were doing so well that Ohio had hunting season for wild turkeys again. Wild Turkeys are open for hunting in Ohio for up to two each in the Spring (Starting April 21 – May 27, 2018 depending on the type your are hunting) and Fall (not on park land).
Whether you are a hunter or bird-watcher, you may have a difficult time spotting a wild turkey in Summit County if your goal is to find one. They have amazing eyesight and hearing so they are gone long before you’d see them if you were hiking. Hopefully you’ll just be lucky like my family and spot them as they come to you!
I hope to see baby turkeys this Spring since we’ve seen so many in our yard this month. They breed early in the spring with an average of 12 eggs.
The ODNR Division of Wildlife would love to hear from you if you spot wild turkeys on your property and other wild animals. Ohio biologist use your sightings to track different species in our area. Report your wildlife sighting online.