Wild Turkeys Gobble Their Way to a Comeback
Wild turkeys and buffalo have more in common than you might guess. Both were important as food for Native Americans and European settlers. And both were nearly obliterated. There were a couple of reasons for the turkey’s decline. In the early years of the U.S., there was no regulation, so people could shoot as many turkeys as they liked. And their forest habitat was cut down for farmland and heating fuel. Without trees, turkeys have nowhere to roost. So they began to disappear.
By the early 1900s, there were only about 30,000 wild turkeys left in the whole country. Then conservationists went to work and, and after a few false starts, they figured out how to bring the birds back and protect them. Today, there are nearly 7 million wild turkeys. They are in every state but Alaska and are considered one of the great success stories of wildlife management. Now state offices get calls about flocks of wild turkeys in people’s backyards, in front of office buildings, even holding up traffic in rush hour.