I was working the other day in my home office – former den, former kids’ computer room, former playroom – when a dinosaur looked at me through the window to my left.
Actually, it was a wild turkey, but they sure have weird-looking heads. It could easily have been a dinosaur.
There were seven of them wandering through my yard. I went out and said hello but they socially distanced out into the woods.
If they’d had youngsters with them, I could have reported them to the state!
Fish and Game Department is asking for the public’s help in tracking wild turkey broods in New Hampshire this spring and summer. It’s easy to take part, and the survey opens June 1. If you observe groups of turkeys with poults (juvenile birds) between June 1 and August 31, report your sightings on New Hampshire Fish and Game’s web-based turkey brood survey at https://forms.gle/rwHEkPYuW6xqPNgm6.
The term “brood” refers to a family group of young turkeys accompanied by a hen. New Hampshire hens generally begin laying eggs sometime 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 eggs 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 later in July and August. Reports of adult male turkeys are not being requested at this time.
Many factors can affect turkey productivity in any given year. Young turkey chicks are extremely sensitive to cool temperatures and rain, both because it can impact their health and also because these conditions can adversely affect insect populations that are a critical source of nutrition for young turkeys. Since spring weather is highly variable, survival of the annual hatch of wild turkeys is also.
Turkey populations depend on a large annual influx of young turkeys to sustain them over time, so the number of young turkeys that survive to be “recruited” into the fall population is of great interest to turkey managers. A large sample of turkey brood observations collected throughout the summer provides biologists with insight into the size of the “graduating class” of turkeys that will become adults.
To learn more about the survey, visit: www.wildnh.com/surveys/turkeybrood.html.