From the Fall 2010 Conservationist for Kids
By Gina Jack and Michael Schiavone
We often learn by watching something and recording what we see. The more eyes that are watching, the better the quality of the information gathered. Taking notes about your observations over weeks, months, or even years can help you discover if habitats and wildlife populations are changing.
Each year, DEC receives information from many volunteers-also known as "citizen scientists" -about turkey populations. If you see turkeys when you go outdoors, you could be a citizen scientist, too, and help the biologists who are helping the turkeys. All you need to do is complete a form when you see turkeys and send the form to DEC. The information is used to figure out if changes are happening in the turkey population and why.
The winter flock survey takes place from January through March, and the summer sighting survey runs during August. Information and forms are available from the DEC webpage for the winter and summer surveys.
Hunter Education and the Youth Turkey Hunt
Every hunter must have a hunting license. All first-time hunters must pass one or more Sportsman Education courses before they can get a hunting license in New York State. Trained instructors certified by DEC teach safe and responsible outdoors practices and the important role of hunters in conservation.
For many families, hunting is a long-standing tradition passed on from generation to generation. A springtime youth turkey hunt for 12- to 15-year-olds encourages this tradition.
For more information:
All About Turkeys by Jim Arnosky (Scholastic, New York, 2008)
High Ridge Gobbler: A Story of the American Wild Turkey by David Stemple and Ted Lewin (Boyds Mills Press, Honesdale, PA, 2001)
Returning Wildlife - Wild Turkeys by John Becker (KidHaven Press, Farmington Hills, MI, 2002)
Wild Turkeys by Dorothy Hinshaw Patent (Early Bird Nature Books/Lerner Publications Co., Minneapolis, MN, 1999)
DEC's wild turkey web page
National Wild Turkey Federation
"All About Birds" from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology
"Birds of North America" from Cornell Lab of Ornithology and American Ornithologists' Union