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Residents asked to report turkey brood sightings

From the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department

-- Residents who see young wild turkey broods in New Hampshire this spring and summer are invited to report their sightings during June, July and August to the Fish and Game Department.

The new web-based turkey brood survey can be found online at http://www.wildnh.com/turkeybroodsurvey.

The department's success with a web-based Winter Turkey Flock Survey has prompted the new survey on turkey brood sightings which began June 1. The survey closes Aug. 31.

The term "brood" refers to a family group of young turkeys accompanied by a hen. New Hampshire hens generally initiate egg-laying in mid-April to early May and complete their clutch of about 12 eggs in early to mid-May. Incubation lasts for 26 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 hatch late June through late July. Reports of adult male turkeys are not being requested.

Young turkeys are extremely sensitive to cool temperatures and rain which impacts young turkey health and also adversely impacts insect populations, a critical source of nutrition for young turkeys.

Because spring weather is highly variable, survival of the annual hatch of wild turkeys is also highly variable. Because turkey populations depend on a large annual influx of young turkeys to sustain themselves, the number of young turkeys that survive is of great interest to turkey managers.

A large sample of turkey brood observations collected throughout summer can provide turkey managers with insight into the size of the turkeys that will become adults. This is the reason why turkey managers throughout the country incorporate information from brood surveys into their management programs.

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