Do Turkeys Sleep in Trees? Yes But Not Like You Expect (Where Turkeys Sleep)

Video do turkeys come out at night

If you’ve ever wondered do turkeys sleep in trees like other birds such as owls? The answer may surprise you.

Wild turkeys do indeed prefer treetops when night falls, but they don’t sleep the way you may expect. There’s no nest in the tree, simply a roost.

This animal is an important link the forest ecosystem. And, knowing the answer to, do turkeys sleep in trees, can help you appreciate this beautiful bird, and realize why protecting old growth forests is so crucial.

How Do Turkeys Sleep?

So, how do turkeys sleep? These US native birds tuck their heads into their feathers while sleeping, which makes for quite a startling sight.1

It’s not unusual for people to approach and stare up at sleeping turkeys to see if they’re still alive.

Where Do Turkeys Sleep?

Where do turkeys sleep in general?

It’s no secret that turkey meat is a staple of the American diet, especially around Thanksgiving.

Captive birds are raised on turkey farms, where they sleep in specifically-created brooders.

The entire farming process is disturbing, especially for animal activists, because turkeys are typically slaughtered at the tender age of 5 months.

Wild turkeys lead much better lives and freely sleep in trees at night where they are mostly protected from natural predators.2

Where Do Baby Turkeys Sleep?

So, where do baby turkeys sleep?

Baby turkeys (called poults) are usually found snoozing inside a nest on the ground. Should they hatch on the ground, their mother will gently scoot them inside the protective straw nest, using her wings.

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The mother also covers the poults with her wings to keep them warm and calm. Baby turkeys mostly sleep for two weeks after they hatch, before their eyes open and they start walking.

While the poults are still unable to reach tree branches, their mother and other family members stay on the ground with them to protect them from wild animals.

As soon as the baby turkeys are big enough to roost in trees, the entire turkey family joins them there too.3

Can Turkeys Fly Into Trees?

How can turkeys fly into trees?

If you watch a turkey on the ground, it seems highly unlikely that it can fly, right? After all, they sort of shuffle around, when they’re not slouching around.

Don’t let their laziness fool you, not only can wild turkeys fly, but they can reach flying speeds of up to 55 miles per hour in short stints.4

This enables them to get a strong enough lift-off from the ground to reach the top of their favorite tree.

Sadly, domesticated turkeys (farmed) are unable to fly because they’re genetically modified to weigh more for the dinner table.5

Do Turkeys Sleep in Trees?

Many people wonder, do turkeys sleep in trees all night?

Turkeys are night-blind, so when dusk falls, they fly up into their chosen tree, where they roost with their heads inside their feathers until dawn.

They are not a nocturnal animal, but are preyed on, especially when hatching and caring for poults in the ground, during the night hours by foxes and other predators.

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Do Turkeys Roost in the Same Tree Every Night?

While some turkeys prefer to sleep in the same tree every night, others are far pickier and seek out different trees almost every night.

Turkeys also prefer the highest branches, so they’ll fly up as high as their wings will carry them.6

What Type of Tree Do Turkeys Prefer?

Wild turkeys prefer sleeping in large trees, even though you won’t find them inside the woods. You’ll typically spot them roosting as high up as 30 feet in Sycamore, Oak, Pine, and Cottonwood trees.

This means turkey watchers will find their favorite wild bird roosting in trees throughout the eastern United States.

What State Has the Most Trees?

Speaking of trees in the US- what state has the most trees (and not just for turkey roosting)?

Flock of wild turkeys in the Great Smoky Mountains foothills.

You might think that Maine still holds the top spot, but it’s Alaska that takes the honors when it comes to having the most trees per state in the US.

In fact, Alaska boasts 43.401 trees per capita and a whopping total of nearly 32 billion trees throughout the state.7,8

Sycamore tree is native to the eastern US, which is perfect for tree-loving turkeys. Also, around 90 species of Oak tree grow in the United States, which is even more good news for turkeys who don’t want to sleep on the ground (Images: Hans22 and PublicDomainPictures23).

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>