Dan Bergeron: (603)-271-1742
Jay Martin: (603) 271-3211
January 2, 2020
CONCORD, NH – Turkeys have begun to gather together, and the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department is asking the public to report sightings of wild turkeys online at www.wildnh.com/surveys/turkey.html beginning on January 1. Information about the status of wintering wild turkeys is particularly important in the Granite State, where severe winter weather and limited natural food supplies can present serious challenges for turkeys. The 2020 Wild Turkey Winter Flock Survey will conclude on March 31.
Last winter, volunteer turkey watchers submitted 486 flock reports, totaling 9,833 birds. Reports were down last year from the previous year’s totals due to the high mobility of turkeys throughout winter. Much of the state experienced relatively low snow fall which allowed turkeys to move easily without burning energy stores. Reduced snowfall also resulted in turkeys not having to congregate for long periods in sites where they could be continually observed, according to Fish and Game Wildlife Programs Supervisor Dan Bergeron
The purpose of this online survey is to enhance New Hampshire Fish and Game’s existing winter flock data collection efforts, adding to the Department’s understanding of the abundance and distribution of turkeys during New Hampshire’s challenging winter months. This is also an exciting way for citizen scientists to interact with their local turkey populations.
The digital survey asks participants to report the number of turkeys in the flock, where they were seen, the type of habitat the birds were observed in, and what the turkeys were feeding on, such as acorns, beechnuts, birdseed, or corn silage.
“This reporting system allows the public to contribute important information to our understanding of the Granite State’s turkey status in an inexpensive, efficient, and hopefully enjoyable way,” said Bergeron.
The Department is also asking observers to report any signs of two viruses that have appeared in New Hampshire’s turkeys in recent years: Avian Pox Virus and Lymphoproliferative Disease Virus. “The viruses are not too widespread yet, but we are keeping a close watch,” said Bergeron. “Look for warty protuberances in the head and eye area.”
To learn more about these viruses, visit www.wildlife.state.nh.us/wildlife/turkeys/turkey-virus.html.
Restoration Success Story: New Hampshire now has an estimated 40,000 wild turkeys. Their presence here is a true wildlife restoration success story. Wild turkeys had disappeared from New Hampshire’s landscape for more than a century because of overhunting and habitat loss from extensive land clearing in the 1800s. Their recovery in the state began with a successful reintroduction of 25 turkeys in Walpole by N.H. Fish and Game in 1975. Modern-day turkey research and monitoring is funded by the federal Wildlife Restoration Program, supported by the purchase of firearms, ammunition, and archery equipment.