Residents invited to participate in DEEP’s wild turkey survey

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HARTFORD — The Connecticut Department of Energy and Conservation is asking residents to keep a list of all sightings of turkeys, poults (boy of the year) and toms as part of the Wildlife Division’s Annual Wild turkey hatching survey between now and August 31.

The results of this survey allow DEEP biologists to determine turkey productivity and reproductive success by estimating the average number of turkey poults per hen nationwide, assessing year-to-year variations in the turkey population and assessing the recruitment of new birds into the fall population, a statement said .


“Connecticut’s wild turkey population has been relatively stable in recent years, but at lower levels than the peak population that occurred in the mid-2000s. Despite some declines, the state’s population remains healthy and productive,” DEEP said.

To participate, volunteers can report turkey sightings online or use a Wild Turkey Observation Form, which can be found on the Wildlife Division’s website. Both the form and the online reporting page can be found at https://portal.ct.gov/DEEP/Wildlife/Community-Science-Volunteer-Opportunities-CT-Wildlife-Division#TBS.

Each observation is categorized by the total number of hens observed, the total number of chicks observed, and the males (toms or hens) observed. Those using the printed Wildlife Turkey Observation Form instead of the online form are asked to submit a final list of results to the Wildlife Division by September 15.

According to DEEP, chickens differ from toms in size, plumage, and head features. Chickens are typically smaller than toms, weighing around 8 to 10 pounds, while toms exceed 15 pounds. Chickens have feathers on the top of their heads that are generally blue/grey in color, while toms have larger heads with noticeable red, white, and blue coloring. A hen’s feathers appear light brown in contrast to the male’s black and iridescent feathers.

“This is an excellent opportunity to work with the Wildlife Division to better monitor the state’s wild turkey population,” said Will Cassidy, DEEP Wildlife Division biologist. “Citizen participation in this survey is an inexpensive way to gather useful data. Participants should pay close attention when counting turkey broods, as the tiny, camouflaged chicks can be difficult to spot in grasses and leaves. If you cannot accurately count the chicks, please do not report the sighting.”

Data obtained during the 2021 brood survey shows wild turkeys had reasonable productivity in Connecticut. On average 3.3 chicks were observed per adult hen. Turkey nesting success can vary annually in response to weather conditions, predator populations, and habitat characteristics.

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