August 5, 2012

DEC seeks participants for summer game bird surveys

ALBANY — New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens has encouraged New Yorkers to participate in surveys for two popular game birds: wild turkeys and ring-necked pheasants.

“Citizen science efforts such as these provide our wildlife managers with invaluable data and give people the opportunity to partner with DEC to help monitor New York’s wildlife resources,” Martens said in a press release. “I encourage you to take the time to record your observations of turkeys or pheasants while exploring the outdoors or driving through the state’s beautiful landscapes this summer.”

Summer Wild Turkey Sighting Survey

Since 1996, the DEC has conducted the Summer Wild Turkey Sighting Survey to estimate the number of wild turkey poults (young of the year) per hen statewide. Weather, predation and habitat conditions during the breeding and brood-rearing seasons can significantly impact nest success, hen survival and poult survival. This index allows DEC to gauge reproductive success and predict fall harvest potential.

During the month of August, survey participants record the sex and age of all flocks of wild turkeys observed during a participant’s normal travel. Those interested in assisting DEC with the turkey survey can download a Summer Wild Turkey Sighting Survey form from the DEC website: Detailed instructions are available with the survey form. Survey cards can also be obtained by contacting a local regional DEC office, calling 402-8886 or by emailing (type “Turkey Survey” in the subject line).

Monitoring pheasants

Since 1945, farmers in the 13 counties that comprise the Lake Plains of New York have partnered with the DEC to help survey wild pheasant populations, and this effort will continue in the newly established “Pheasant Habitat Focus Area” in the Genesee Valley (portions of Livingston, Genesee, Wyoming and Monroe counties). For information, visit This new focus area was created as a part of DEC’s 10-year management plan for ring-necked pheasants. The goal of this focus area is to concentrate the efforts of public and private habitat conservation programs to benefit pheasants and other grassland birds. This survey assists the DEC to monitor pheasant populations and evaluate the success of habitat management efforts in the focus area.

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