Electronic Field Guide » Featured Wildlife Species » Wild Turkey

Prepared by Kevin Yoder and Margaret Brittingham (Ecosystem Science and Management)

The wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) is a popular and common game bird species found throughout the Marcellus shale region.  Pennsylvania’s current wild turkey population is much larger than it ever was throughout the 20th century.  Successful trap-and-transfer programs, harvest management, and habitat management are responsible for the abundant numbers of wild turkeys found in Pennsylvania today.  Ongoing natural gas development throughout the wild turkey’s range is changing the landscape.  The effect this will have on turkey populations depends in part on how well pads and pipelines are developed and restored.  With planning, natural gas development can protect and potentially enhance the quality of wild turkey habitat.  Protection of critical turkey habitat coupled with proper reclamation of disturbed sites will create a best-case scenario for wild turkeys.