Wild turkeys live in forests and grasslands, particularly hardwood and mixed pine forests with scattered clearings including pastures, fields, parks, orchards and even marshes.
Their range stretches through most of the U.S., east of the Rocky Mountains, with pockets living in northern Montana, central California and in the Sierra Nevada mountains in Mexico.
Wild turkeys breed early in the spring. Males attract mates by strutting and gobbling with their tails. They make nests, which are shallow scrapes in the ground surrounded by deep vegetation. The mother makes the nests and lays eight to 15 eggs, which she incubates for 25 to 31 days. Once hatched, the chicks can feed themselves within a day of hatching. Young males stay with their mother until the fall, while females stay with her until the next spring. Fathers are not involved in raising the young.
Some female wild turkeys lay eggs in another females’ nest, a tactic known as egg dumping. They can lay eggs in another turkey’s nest, or in the nests of ruffled grouse.