12 Effective Ways to Attract Wild Turkeys to Your Yard

Written by Kirstin Harrington
Published: November 6, 2023
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Whether you’re looking for natural pest control or simply love to watch these beautiful birds, there are a plethora of ways to attract wild turkeys to your yard. They are unique animals that thrive in social situations. 

There are plenty of creative ways to lure these animals to your yard. They can thrive in both suburban and rural areas. If you live near a stream or forest, you’ll have the added benefit of their favorite environments. 

1. Leave Out Acorns

Close up view on a water drop falling from the tip of acorn on a tree branch in autumn in the mystical forests near Kalambaka, Meteora, Thessaly, Greece, Europe. Selected focus on a chestnut oak tree

Acorns typically fall in September and October.

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©Christopher Moswitzer/Shutterstock.com

If there is one thing that turkeys love to eat, it’s acorns! These nuts help them survive the chilly weather that winter brings. If you have mature oak trees in your yard, you’re likely to see plenty of turkeys. 

If you don’t have trees that produce acorns, you can buy them in bulk at feed stores. Scatter them throughout the area of your yard if you want to see wild turkeys. They’re most likely to consume acorns in the fall as the temperatures start to dip. 

2. Mow Grass Regularly

Mowing the grass

Cut your grass an extra time or two during the height of summer when it’s growing the fastest.

©BrianAJackson/iStock via Getty Images

No, we’re not making sure you get your yard work done! Did you know that routinely mowing your grass will invite turkeys to the area? These birds love to dine on fresh-growing grass and any of the bugs that crawl along the blades. 

The longer your grass is, the less likely you are to see turkeys in your yard. Long grass can invite natural predators such as snakes and raccoons. Mow your grass to keep these creatures at bay and invite wild turkeys! 

3. Create a Dining Area

Eastern male Wild Turkey tom (Meleagris gallopavo) strutting with tail feathers in fan through a grassy meadow in Canada

Turkeys can weigh nearly 40 pounds!

©Jim Cumming/Shutterstock.com

It may sound silly to create a dining area for an animal, but it will help you attract wild turkeys to your yard. Start by choosing one spot in the yard that you want the turkeys to visit. Then, make sure that the location is always stocked with their favorite foods.

Turkeys love to eat a variety of nuts, berries, grapes, corn, and mixed bird seed. 

4. Make a Clearing Near Forests

Kilen Woods State Park in Minnesota

Having a clearing gives the turkeys a place to walk.

©dosecreative/iStock via Getty Images

Do you have woodland in your backyard? This can present the perfect opportunity to witness wild turkeys on your land. They adore wandering around in open spaces surrounded by trees. If you have a plethora of trees, make a clearing for the turkeys to enjoy. 

They may even nest in the area if you’re lucky! 

5. Plant Berry Bushes 

latana with blackberries

There are over 400 types of berries!

©Anna Gonchar/Shutterstock.com

You know that turkeys like acorns and that you can create a dining spot for them. What if you planted a few berry bushes to attract and help feed wild turkeys? This is a great way to bring in young turkeys to your yard. 

They love a variety of berries. You can plant bushes in said dining area, or in any spot in your yard you wish to see these beautiful birds. 

6. Provide Water

Crow in Birdbath

Like all birds, mature turkeys need water every day.

©BrianEKushner/iStock via Getty Images

Just like food, turkeys need water to survive. In order to attract wild turkeys to your yard, make a watering hole. Because these animals are fairly large, they’ll need plenty of water. 

You can install a large bird bath, just make sure it’s plenty wide and deep. Be sure to change out the water regularly to prevent mold from forming. Fresh water will also keep annoying pests at bay. 

7. Keep Mature Trees

A wild Turkey's nest of 13 eggs at the base of a mossy tree.

Turkey eggs are nearly three inches long and two inches wide.

©Elias Glesmann/Shutterstock.com

Not only do mature trees make your yard look better, but turkeys need them for a place to roost! They tend to build their nests off the ground to avoid predators that may want to harm their young. 

If you have mature trees that produce acorns and you can create a clearing around them, you’re sure to have wild turkeys in your yard. 

8. Make a Foraging Garden

Clover

Clover gardens require very little upkeep.

©iStock.com/gadost

If you have a green thumb and want to provide plenty of food for wild turkeys, make a foraging garden. These large birds love clovers and many people consider these plants weeds, yet turkeys can’t get enough! 

In addition to clovers, plant legumes! These cause the wild turkeys to use their natural instincts to peck and open beans and seeds for a tasty treat! 

9. Avoid Raking Leaves

Raking leaves. The man is raking leaves with a rake. The concept of preparing the garden for winter, spring. Taking care of the garden.

Raking leaves also gives these birds grub to eat.

©BOKEH STOCK/Shutterstock.com

One less outdoor chore will have you attracting wild turkeys to your yard in no time! That’s right – stop raking leaves in the fall and these birds will come in droves! Turkeys use fallen leaves and branches to make their nests.

The more of these natural materials that are available, the more likely a turkey will visit to build a nest. 

10. Stop Using Pesticides

Female hand holding garden spray bottle with pesticides and spraying liquid on blooming roses

Turkeys are nature’s natural bug remover!

©Savanevich Viktar/Shutterstock.com

Another way to attract wild turkeys to your yard is by keeping the crawling critters that you may find on your grass and in the garden. Turkeys love to dine on bugs! When you stop using pesticides, bugs will flock to your land. 

This invites turkeys in and they’ll take care of the pesky insects. It’s a win-win! 

11. Place Decoys

Wild Turkeys and Decoy in South Carolina

Some turkey decoys will move in the wind, making them appear even more realistic.

©Kerry Hargrove/Shutterstock.com

Although hunters use decoys, homeowners can as well! They’ll still attract turkeys to your yard. It’s important to get realistic decoys that you can buy or make yourself. Be sure to place the decoys in an open area where the living turkeys will be able to see them. 

12. Use a Turkey Call

Turkey hunt on a spring morning

Hunters use turkey calls to lure them into a hunting zone.

©Beau Leyse/Shutterstock.com

In the same vein of decoys, you can also use a turkey call to bring these animals to your land. It’s essential to make the calls properly, as these noises are how turkeys communicate with one another. 

Using a call too much can have the opposite effect. A few sounds here and there will lure the animals in, while too many will scare them off.

Downsides of Attracting Wild Turkeys to Your Yard

Wild, North American Turkey Tracks

Tracking turkeys can help you know where on your land they travel.

©K Steve Cope/Shutterstock.com

While we’re focusing on bringing turkeys to your yard, there are some issues you may want to be aware of. The last thing we want is for you to attract these animals without knowing the damage they can do. 

Generally speaking, turkeys are harmless animals. Here is some important information regarding bringing these large birds onto your land, though.

Possible Damages

Turkeys will do just about anything to have a full stomach. This means they can eat anything in your garden, including your favorite flowers or blossoming crops. They also drop feces all over, especially if there’s an entire flock. 

This can make your yard look and be dirty. There is additionally the possibility of these birds damaging patio furniture, bird feeders, and fencing. We do want to mention that wild turkeys can be aggressive.

Males often become territorial when it’s breeding season. This typically takes place during April and May. It is in your best interest to be aware of this if you have small children or pets that play outdoors. 

Summary of the Best Ways to Attract Wild Turkeys to Your Yard

RankTipHow It Works
1.Plant oak trees. Mature oak trees will drop acorns, inviting in these large birds.
2.Mow the grass regularly.The shorter and fresher your grass is, the more likely turkeys will visit.
3.Create a dining spot.Having a spot where you place food to lure in turkeys is a great way to get them to your yard. 
4.Make a clearing in front of the woods.Clear out a spot near woodlands to give turkeys room to roam. 
5.Plant berry bushes.Berry bushes will attract turkeys and deer that love to munch on fresh fruit. 
6.Provide water.Setting up a large bird bath provides these animals with plenty of drinking water. 
7.Keep mature trees.Tall trees allow turkeys to nest safely from vicious ground predators. 
8.Plant a foraging garden.Planting clovers and legumes gives something for turkeys to forage. 
9.Don’t rake leaves.Keeping fallen foliage gives turkeys materials to build their nests. 
10.Avoid pesticides. Stop using pesticides to give turkeys bugs to eat.
11.Place decoys.Place decoys to attract social birds like turkeys.
12. Use a turkey call.Sparingly using a turkey call may bring male turkeys to your yard.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Cavan Images/ via Getty Images


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About the Author

Kirstin is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering animals, news topics, fun places, and helpful tips. Kirstin has been writing on a variety of topics for over five years. She has her real estate license, along with an associates degree in another field. A resident of Minnesota, Kirstin treats her two cats (Spook and Finlay) like the children they are. She never misses an opportunity to explore a thrift store with a coffee in hand, especially if it’s a cold autumn day!

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