CONCORD, N.H. — If you see a flock of wild turkeys in New Hampshire this winter, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department would like to hear about it. For the fourth consecutive year, citizens are being asked to report sightings of turkey flocks seen from January 1 through March 31, 2012, by filling out a simple electronic survey form posted on the Fish and Game website at http://www.wildnh.com/turkeysurvey. After January 1, you can also reach the survey by going to http://www.wildnh.com and clicking on "2012 Winter Turkey Flock Survey." Please do not report multiple sightings of the same flock.
The Winter Flock Survey bolsters Fish and Game's understanding of the abundance and distribution of turkeys during New Hampshire's challenging winter months. The survey asks participants to report the number of turkeys in the flock; the location where they were seen; the type of habitat the birds were observed in; and what the turkeys were feeding on, such as acorns, beechnuts, seed at birdfeeders, or corn silage.
The survey is designed to fill gaps in Fish and Game's existing winter flock data collection efforts. "For parts of the state, especially eastern and northern New Hampshire, we could benefit by additional sighting reports," said Ted Walski, Turkey Project Leader at Fish and Game. "This reporting system will allow the public to contribute important information to our understanding of winter turkey status in an inexpensive, efficient and, hopefully, enjoyable way."
Last winter, people responding to the survey reported 1,500 flocks totaling over 27,000 turkeys, and encompassing all areas of the state. Last year's winter flock survey results are summarized at http://www.wildnh.com/turkeysurvey.
Turkeys are easy to see this time of year because they gather in large, highly visible flocks. Knowledge of the status of wintering turkeys is particularly important in New Hampshire, because of the challenges of severe winter weather and limited natural food supplies. New Hampshire now has an estimated 45,000 wild turkeys. Their presence here is a true wildlife restoration success story. Wild turkeys had disappeared from New Hampshire by the mid-1800s because of overhunting and habitat loss from extensive land clearing. Their successful recovery in the state began with a reintroduction of 25 turkeys by N.H. Fish and Game in 1975.
For more information on the flock survey, write to Turkey Project Leader Ted Walski at Fish and Game Region 4 Office, 15 Ash Brook Court, Keene, N.H. 03431; or call 603-352-9669.
Turkey research in New Hampshire is funded by the federal Wildlife Restoration Program, supported by the purchase of firearms, ammunition, archery equipment, fishing supplies and motorboat fuel. The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department is the guardian of the state's fish, wildlife and marine resources and their habitats. Visit http://www.wildnh.com.