Concord, NH – As the summer months continue, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department reminds the public to report sightings of hen turkeys, with or without young, through the Department’s online summer turkey brood survey at www.wildnh.com/surveys/turkeybrood.html.
This year’s survey continues through August 31, providing data that will help New Hampshire Fish and Game Department biologists determine the distribution and abundance of wild turkeys throughout the State. “The information survey participants provide helps us monitor the turkey population,” said Daniel Bergeron, NH Fish and Game’s Wildlife Programs Supervisor. “This survey results in reports from all over the state and adds to the important information biologists gather to monitor changes in turkey productivity, distribution, abundance, turkey brood survival, and the timing of nesting and hatching.”
“Observations made in late July and August are especially important,” said Fish and Game Turkey Biologist Allison Keating. “Those young who have survived into August are likely to become adults, so these sightings provide the best index of summer breeding productivity.”
According to Keating, brood reports would be especially welcome this summer to help determine if weather hurt the production of young, and how much re-nesting occurred. The conditions for turkey hatchings during the spring of 2021 were not ideal, with extended periods of rain and cool temperatures at the end of May, followed by more precipitation during June and into July. “Some young turkeys will be quite large in August, almost the size of an adult hen, because of earlier hatching during the second half of May and early June. Smaller-sized poults in August are a result of a second nesting, when the first nest or clutch of eggs is lost,” explained Keating.
The term “brood” refers to a family group of young turkeys accompanied by a hen. New Hampshire hens generally begin laying eggs from mid-April to early May and complete their clutch of about 12 eggs in early to mid-May. Incubation lasts for 28 days, and most nests hatch from late May to mid-June. If incubating turkey eggs are destroyed or consumed by predators, hens often lay a replacement clutch of eggs that then hatch in late June through August.
“Many thanks to all who have reported hens with young turkeys so far this year, and please keep reporting your sightings,” said Keating. “The data provided by these citizen scientists are a huge help in determining the success of our turkey population.”
To learn more about the annual Turkey Brood Survey or to record your sightings, visit www.wildnh.com/surveys/turkeybrood.html.