It’s not uncommon for Western New York gardeners to see turkeys trotting through a nearby field or even across their own lawn.
How many wild turkeys are there this year? That’s what the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) would like to know.
And they’d like your help.
During August, you can participate in a survey, recording how many adults and poults (young of the year) you see during normal travel. To make a report, click the “Summer Wild Turkey Sighting Online report” on the Summer Wild Turkey Sighting Survey webpage.
Weather, predation, and habitat conditions during breeding and brood-rearing seasons can significantly impact nest success, and hen and poult survival.
Around 1948, wild turkeys from a small remnant population in northern Pennsylvania crossed the border into Western New York. These were the first turkeys in the state after an absence of 100 years, according to the DEC.
In the 1970s, New York State was home to about 30,000 wild turkeys. Today there are about 180,000 statewide. The DEC has held its annual survey of the turkey population since 1996.
Learn more about managing land for wild turkey habitat here.
See more about turkey research here.
See information about other citizen science initiatives here.