Translocation of 16 eastern wild turkey Meleagris gallopavo silvestris to the Boone Study Area, central Iowa, which had no established turkey population, lead to 470% population growth after three years

  • Published source details Terry T.W. & Varland K.L. (1981) Reproduction and Dispersal of Transplanted Wild Turkeys in Iowa. The Journal of Wildlife Management, 45, 419-427


Translocations, also known as relocations, reintroductions, restocking, or repatriations, involve the intentional release of captive-bred and/or wild-caught animals into the wild in order to re-establish populations that have been lost, or augment critically small populations. In this case, eastern wild turkey were reintroduced into an area of central Iowa without an established turkey population.

One adult and four subadult male and six adult and five subadult female eastern wild turkeys Meleagris gallopavo silvestris from southern Iowa and Missouri were released into an area with no turkey population, the Boone Study Area, central Iowa, in February 1975 and February 1976.

Birds were captured with rocket or cannon nets, transported in individual wooden crates, held overnight in an unheated building, and released the day after capture. Each turkey was fitted with a radio-transmitter equivalent to approximately three percent of body weight.

Dispersal and nesting success were documented through radiotelemetry data and observation.




Although first year population growth was slow (13%), the introduced population of 16 turkeys grew 470% after three breeding seasons. Turkeys had dispersed across an area of 83 km² by the 3rd year post-release.

Four of eight nests started by radio-tagged hens in 1976 were successful. Human disturbance was suspected of triggering the abandonment of five nests.

Note: If using or referring to this published study, please read and quote the original paper


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