Fish and Game asking public to help with summer turkey survey
Written by NH1.com on .
The N.H. Fish and Game Department is asking the public to help them collect data on the number of hen turkey sightings through the end of the summer.
Officials asked residents to report sightings of hen turkeys — with or without young — through their online survey until Aug. 31. They said the survey provides data that helps Fish and Game biologists determine the distribution and abundance of wild turkeys throughout the Granite State.
"Observations made in late July and August are especially important," Fish and Game turkey biologist Ted Walski said. "Those young who have survived into August are likely to become adults, so these sightings provide the best index to summer breeding productivity."
Officials said brood reports would be especially welcome this summer, to help determine if weather affected the production of young, and how much re-nesting occurred. Walski said turkey hatching weather for this past spring was not good because of extended periods of rain in late May and June, along with a significant snowfall in much of the state on May 14.
"The size of some young turkeys will be quite large in August, almost the size of the adult hen, because of earlier hatching during the second half of May and early June," Walski said. "Smaller-size poults in August are a result of a second nesting when the first nest or clutch of eggs is lost."
Officials said 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. The eggs are incubated for 28 days, and most nests hatch from late May to mid-June. However, if incubating turkey eggs are destroyed or consumed by predators, hens often lay a replacement clutch of eggs that hatch by late June through late August.
Walski thanked members of the public who have reported hens with young turkeys so far and urged them to continue reporting any sightings.
"These reports from volunteer observers are a big help in determining how successful turkey nesting was for the year," he said.
Officials also reminded everyone to report any sightings of adult turkeys that have wart-like growths around their head or eyes which would be indicative of the Lymphoproliferative Disease Virus.