PROVIDENCE - The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) is asking the public to report sightings of wild turkey hens - both with brood and without - to help with research efforts. The Department is currently evaluating the state's wild turkey population which is estimated at 3,000 birds.
Information gathered from the public is helpful in determining the number of young birds that survive after common causes of mortality such as predators, weather, and road kill are taken into account. Last year, residents reported 449 turkey brood sightings. 2015 was an above-average year for wild turkey populations - with over 600 adult turkeys and more than 3,200 young birds, or "poults," reported.
DEM is actively working to protect and improve wildlife habitat in Rhode Island forests and management areas to ensure healthier, more diverse, and abundant wildlife populations. DEM's turkey relocation program, which ran from 1980 to 1996, resulted in increased opportunities for the public to see and hunt wild turkeys. The restoration project released wild trapped birds that established new turkey flocks in Exeter, Burrillville, Little Compton, West Greenwich, Foster, Scituate, and Tiverton. Restoration of the wild turkey was funded by state hunting license fees and the Federal Aid to Wildlife Restoration program.
The public is encouraged to report sightings via a brief online survey. For more turkey facts, visit www.dem.ri.gov. Follow DEM on Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM) or Facebook at www.facebook.com/RhodeIslandDEM for timely updates.