Popular Science

Wild turkeys are in trouble

And this time hunting and clear-cutting aren’t to blame.
strutting turkeys

A pair of gobblers.

PGC Photo Library - Jacob Dingel

Wild turkeys are in a bit of a bind.

The birds were nearly wiped out by hunters and habitat destruction by the early 1900s, but made a comeback thanks to conservation efforts in the 20th century. Yet for the past 15 years or so, turkey populations have again started to fall across much of the United States.

These turkeys are the same species as the birds that might grace your Thanksgiving table, although they’re much tougher. Wild turkeys can sprint as fast as a galloping horse and fly even faster. But it seems that they might need a little human help once more.

“The population was on such a rise, it had such momentum for a long period of time that as managers we didn’t see it coming,” says Mary Jo Casalena, the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s wild turkey biologist. “We didn’t see that we were peaking

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from Popular Science

Popular Science2 min read
Techathlon Podcast: IPhone 11, A Lie Detector, And A Streaming Content Quiz
We’ve been living in a world with the internet for long enough now that we mostly know how to act. There are lots of things we should be doing, like replying to text messages in a timely fashion and avoiding the urge to post cryptic statuses on socia
Popular Science2 min read
Electric Toothbrushes That Will Leave You Smiling
Electric toothbrushes make brushing your teeth more fun. The American Dental Association recommends you brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time, so you might as well try to make the most of it. The basic features of an electric toothbr
Popular Science3 min read
Scientists Are Investigating The Secrets Of Smelly Cat Butts
Biologists want to understand exactly what chemical compounds inside anal sac secretions are sending which messages.