Allison Keating: (603) 352-9669
Dan Bergeron: (603) 271-2461
August 22, 2022
Concord, NH – As the summer comes to a close, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department encourages people 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 Division Chief. “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 August are especially important,” said Fish and Game Turkey Biologist Allison Keating. “Those young who have survived thus far are likely to become adults, so these sightings provide the best index of summer breeding productivity.”
During the 2021 Summer Online Brood Survey, there were 1,264 brood observations reported statewide compared with 1,474 in 2020. For the state as a whole, the average productivity was 2.95 poults per hen, which was up compared with 2.13 poults per hen in 2020. “The data collected from these surveys provides an index that we can monitor over time to identify trends or potential changes in the turkey population,” Keating explained. The data are also shared with other states to monitor wild turkeys on a regional and national level as well.
According to Keating, “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 or early June. Smaller-sized poults in August are a result of a second nesting, when the first nest or clutch of eggs was lost.”
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 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.