Ted Walski: 603-352-9669
Jane Vachon: 603-271-3211
July 25, 2014
Public Asked to Report Summer Wild Turkey Brood Sightings
CONCORD, N.H. – Got turkeys? If so, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department wants to know! Report sightings of hen turkeys, with or without young, through Fish and Game's web-based survey at wildnh.com/turkeybroodsurvey. The survey continues through August 31, providing data that helps the Department determine the distribution and abundance of wild turkeys throughout the state.
"Observations made in late July and August tend to be especially important," said Fish and Game turkey biologist Ted Walski. "Those young who have survived into August are likely to become adults, so these sightings provide the best index to the summer breeding productivity."
Most sightings will be of "multiple hen" broods this time of year. It is common for hen turkeys to join together with their young later in the summer. This joint brood flock will often have poults of various sizes. Also, hens that have not successfully nested or that have lost their young will join a brood flock and act as a foster mother.
"Don't be surprised to observe some broods in August with small poults the size of quail or pigeons," explained Walski. "Re-nesting is common with wild turkeys. If something causes nest destruction or abandonment during May/June, the majority of hens will lay another clutch of eggs that hatch out in July or August."
Last summer's survey yielded a total of 1,676 turkey broods reported from all parts of the state between May and August. So far this year, just over 200 turkey brood sightings have been reported. According to Walski, weather conditions have generally been good this year for turkey nesting and hatching.
Some helpful background for turkey observers: 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 hatch late June through late August.
"Many thanks to all who have reported hens with young turkeys so far this year, and please keep reporting your sightings," said Walski. "These reports from volunteer observers are a big help in determining how successful turkey nesting was for the year."
Wildlife research and management in New Hampshire is funded in part by Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration, a user-pay, user-benefit program supported by your purchase of firearms, ammunition and archery equipment.
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