What time do turkeys roost in the evening?


Most turkeys roost just before sunset, which in the springtime is around 7:45 PM.


One of the top questions we get is what time do turkeys roost in the evening? The time turkeys tend to head to roost can vary depending on location and bird population, but here are some key facts about their nocturnal routines.

Turkeys start heading to roost 30 minutes before sunset and continue until the end of civil twilight. During the spring months, such as April, sunset averages around 7:45 PM each evening. This results in a 50-minute window for which the birds filter into the roost.

Turkeys tend to sleep during the night, roughly between the hours of 8:00 PM and 6:00 AM. The average turkey will sleep about 8 hours during the night. They rarely move their roosts during the night, unless disturbed by predators. Many turkeys will bed in the same spot for long periods of time – weeks or even months – before finding a different tree to roost in.

Turkeys roost every night in trees, high off the ground, for protection from predators.

Why do turkeys roost at night?

As the sun begins to set, turkeys will start to search for a suitable spot to roost for the evening. They prefer to roost in trees, often choosing a sturdy branch that is high off the ground to provide a sense of safety and security. Turkeys will continue to use the same roost trees unless disturbed or unfavorable changes occur.

But not just any tree will do. Turkeys have a knack for selecting trees with a dense canopy, which provides ample coverage from the elements and potential predators. They also prefer trees with a rough bark, which makes it easier for their sharp claws to grip onto as they settle in for the night.

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Once a suitable tree has been found, the turkeys will begin to gather in groups, with the dominant males taking the higher perches and the females and younger birds occupying the lower branches. As the sky grows darker, the turkeys will huddle together for warmth and to offer mutual protection from any potential threats.

What time do turkeys roost in the evening?

The time turkeys choose to roost in the evening varies but usually starts 30 minutes before sunset and continues through civil twilight. On a typical spring day in April, sunset occurs around 7:45 PM. This means the window for turkeys heading back to roost is between 7:15 PM and 8:08 PM.

A 53-minute window may not seem like much, but turkeys are creatures of habit and will use the same roosts repeatedly. After leaving the roost during the day to forage and find suitable mates, they will gradually work their way back to the roost just before sunset.

If a turkey roost is disturbed, the time they leave the roost can be affected.

What happens if a turkey roost is disturbed?

Turkeys are creatures of habit, and they will return to the same roosts each night for weeks or months at a time. Large trees near water that are conducive to roosting may not be abundant, making certain roosting areas even more vital in key hunting areas. If this habitat is destroyed or they are constantly disturbed at night, they may leave the area for good.

Turkeys are agile birds and will quickly take flight if they sense any danger. They are also known to make loud noises, such as gobbling and cackling, to alert the rest of the flock to potential threats.

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Not disturbing a roost is the best way to ensure the birds leave well rested in the morning and continue their routine. This makes anticipating their movements easier so that you can set up for the hunt.

Bottom Line: Turkeys Roost Just Before Sunset

In conclusion, while turkeys may be most well-known for their distinctive appearance and behaviors during the day, they are also fascinating creatures when it comes to their roosting habits at night. They carefully select the trees they roost in and gather in groups for safety and warmth.

Turkeys head to roost just before sunset, which in the spring months tends to be around 7:45 PM. There’s a 50-minute window of the highest activity for birds retuning to the roost. They will spend the night perched in trees until daybreak, then head out to forage.

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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 >>