New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today encouraged New Yorkers to take part in the State’s annual survey of wild turkeys, a valuable tool that helps DEC determine the productivity of turkey populations statewide.
“Citizen scientists provide important data that helps our biologists examine how factors such as weather, predation, and habitat conditions during the breeding and brood-rearing seasons impact turkey survival,” Commissioner Seggos said. “Without the assistance of our volunteers, the task of monitoring turkey populations statewide would be far more difficult, and we encourage participation this summer to help enhance our knowledge of turkeys in New York.”
Turkey populations in New York State peaked in the late 1990s and early 2000s. However, over the past decade, turkey productivity has consistently been below average, leading to lower populations. Since 1996, DEC has conducted the annual Summer Wild Turkey Sighting Survey to track wild turkey populations and estimate the number of wild turkey poults (young of the year) per hen statewide. This index allows DEC to gauge reproductive success and predict future turkey populations and harvest opportunities.
DEC uses reported observations of wild turkeys to track annual productivity over time and in different parts of the state. User-submitted data also helps wildlife managers forecast hunting prospects for the coming fall season and subsequent spring seasons. To submit turkey observations, citizen scientists are encouraged to use DEC’s online form.
Additional information, including results from previous summer surveys, please visit DEC’s website:
Photo at top: Female wild turkey. Photo courtesy of Cornell Lab of Ornithology.