DEC Seeking Citizen Scientists to Report Their Wild Turkey Observations This Summer

While you are out exploring New York State this summer, be sure to keep an eye out for wild turkeys and report your observations to DEC! Since 1996, DEC has conducted the Summer Wild Turkey Sighting Survey to track wild turkey productivity (the proportion of young of the year to adult hens) statewide. Weather, habitat conditions, and predators during breeding and brood-rearing seasons can significantly impact nest success, hen survival, and poult survival. This index allows DEC to gauge reproductive success and predict future turkey populations and harvest opportunities. Reproductive success (as measured by this survey) remains significantly lower than it was in the early 2000s.

The estimated number of poults/hen in 2017, 2019, 2021, and 2022 were four of the six lowest productivity estimates since the survey began in 1996.

How to participate:

  • Keep an eye out for wild turkeys as you’re out and about.
  • When you observe a flock, either jot down the number of adult females, adult males, and poults (young of the year) that you see.
  • When you’re at a computer or on your phone, please enter your observation online.
  • If you happen to see what you believe to be the same flock later in the month, please do not double report the group.
  • Observing and counting wildlife can be challenging. To not bias the results, we ask that you only report flocks when you’re confident you observed the entire group. Partial flock observations can bias the poult per hen estimates. Using binoculars can greatly improve the odds you’re able to observe an entire flock.
Submitted by Somers, NY

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