Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) is asking Connecticut residents to tally turkey sightings statewide from June 1 to August 31 as part of the Wildlife Division’s Annual Turkey Brood Survey.
Residents are asked to keep track of all hens (female turkeys) and poults (turkey chicks) observed during normal travel. Volunteers should also keep track of the number of hens they see with poults. Volunteers can report findings using the Wild Turkey Observation Form which can be downloaded at www.ct.gov/deep/WildlifeCitizenScience.
“Citizen involvement in this survey is a cost-effective means of gathering useful data,” said Michael Gregonis, Turkey Program Biologist for the DEEP Wildlife Division. “Participants should look carefully when counting turkey broods as the tiny camouflaged poults may be difficult to spot in grasses and leaves.”
Turkey hens can be differentiated from toms (male turkeys) by size, plumage, and head characteristics. Hens are smaller, weighing 8-10 pounds, have light brown feathers and have blue-gray feathering on the tops of their heads. Toms can weigh more than 15 pounds, have black, iridescent feathers, and have larger heads with red, white, and blue coloration.
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Results from this survey will allow DEEP biologists to estimate the number of poults per hen statewide. Researchers use these findings to determine annual population fluctuations, reproductive success, and recruitment of new birds into the fall population.
Last year’s brood survey delivered results of 2.6 poults per adult for all hens observed and 3.9 poults per hen observed with at least one poult.
Connecticut’s wild turkey population has been stable over the last 10 years, but is lower than the peak reached in the mid-2000s. Turkey nesting success can vary based on weather conditions, predator populations, and habitat characteristics. Connecticut’s population remains healthy and productive.
Any questions about the survey should be directed to Wild Turkey Program Biologist, Michael Gregonis at Michael.Gregonis@ct.gov.
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