During the week, I don't leave the Binghamton metropolitan area much, but on the weekend during the warm weather months, I head to camp in rural Bradford County, Pennsylvania.

More often than not, we will have to slow down for deer near or crossing the road as we travel through the countryside, and many times we encounter turkeys close by in a field on our travels to camp and back.

The reason I bring this up, at least for turkeys, that is, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is asking residents to report back to them , turkey observations during this summer. That includes not just adult females and males, put poults (young/baby turkeys) as well.

Every year, the NYS DEC conducts a Summer Wild Turkey Sighting Survey. They've done so sine 1996, and the reason is to track wild turkey productivity throughout New York State.

According to the NYS DEC:

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.

According to past surveys, the NYS DEC has noted that 2017, 2019, 2021 and 2022 were four years of the lowest six productivity estimates since the surveys began.

What can you do to help? Well, this is the NYS DEC is asking New York State residents to do:

  • 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. In order 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.

For more information and results from previous years, visit the Summer Wild Turkey Survey page through the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation website.

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