View Full Version : Turkeys and rain...?

June 30, 2005, 01:58 AM
Ok well today we got about 3 inches of rain in 30 minutes followed by another hour of drizzling rain with very strong winds thrown in there. After the storm ended I was out driving around checking out the damage to the tobacco and kept seeing turkeys in about every hay field I passed. I probably saw 6 different flocks in a 20 minute period. Then when I got home I looked across the road to see two more turkeys. I got out my spotting scope and saw that they were both hens and later counted 17 chicks (term?) following them! (Yay!)

So my question is...why do turkeys go out into the open after rain?

I've been searching the net for quite a while now, (hence why I'm writing this so late), and haven't really found a straight answer as to why they tend to do this. Although one guy did say something about they feel more vulnerable in the rain so they go into the open where they have a better chance at seeing predators.

Anybody have a answer to this?

P.S- Not that anyone cares, but the highlight of the day was definetly when I was picking up branches around the house with the Polaris Ranger and spotted a woodchuck in my christmas tree patch. Needless to say, I beat him to his burrow! (Squish crunch crunch flop flop thud)

June 30, 2005, 06:03 AM
The heavy rains will at least bring worms and perhaps other insects to the surface.

June 30, 2005, 09:38 AM
After heavy rains, the driest place to be is out in the open. No water dripping off trees, no brushing up against wet brush and bushes.

Also, grasshoppers and other insects would be very lethargic after a downpour, and would be easy pickings for the turkeys.

June 30, 2005, 09:53 AM
After heavy rains, the driest place to be is out in the open. No water dripping off trees, no brushing up against wet brush and bushes.
^ +1

July 1, 2005, 11:51 AM
Turkeys use their hearing and sight for survival. When it rains they will stay on their roosts longer in the morning and go up on their roosts earlier in the evening. When it rains during the day they tend to head for open spaces so they can rely on their eyes more. When the woods become wet predators can use cover to get close to turkeys because the birds cannot hear them. The birds have more time to see the predators when in the fields since they cannot rely on their hearing with the ground wet in the woods. Oh yeah. It is not any dryer in the fields than in the woods, the tree canopy works much like an umbrella. Think about it, how wet do you get when walking through wet grass? Your boots and pants can get soaked just from the dew without there being any rain at all.

July 2, 2005, 09:19 PM
Caught this old girl taking the two little ones on a worm/bug/seed/grub hunt in south central fla two days ago. It had just stopped pouring and I mean torrential rain. There was three to four inches of water on the very ground that they cut a path right through. I say from my experiences it is nothing other than good food getting opprotunity. They are at far greater risk from predation when on the ground out in the open than they would ever be when on the nest or roost. Nothing but the need for food or the drive to reproduce makes animals take such risk. Obviously she is past the reproduction issues for this year. The grasshoppers, beatles, frogs, worms, seeds and other assorted goodies were floating on the surface of the water and these three made out like bandits. I apologize for the poor quality photo. If you have a problem finding the young ones, there is one directly under her tail feathers and another approx three feet behind her tail. FWI this is an Osceola strain of wild turkey.

July 3, 2005, 09:44 AM
Sorry double post.

July 3, 2005, 09:49 AM

Turkeys' are obviously safest when on a roost, they are most vulnerable however when on the nest. The greatest predation of adult turkeys is while the female is on its nest. I agree that turkeys will take advantage of easy feeding opportunities like the rain you discribed. In most parts of the country that have freezing weather, there maybe little or no insect and worm activity when it rains during the colder months. You will see turkeys out in the fields during or after rain events. When the rain or snow is very heavy many turkeys will return or stay in their roosts. When mast is present in the woods turkeys will often head to the fields while the woods are still soaked and then return after things have dried up abit to continue feeding.