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For Release: Tuesday, July 30, 2013

DEC Seeks Participants for Summer Game Bird Surveys

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens today encouraged New Yorkers to participate in surveys about 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 state wildlife resources," Commissioner Martens said. "I encourage residents to take the time to record their observations of turkeys or pheasants while exploring the forests and fields around their home or driving through New York's beautiful landscapes this summer."

Summer Wild Turkey Sighting Survey
Since 1996, 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 all significantly impact nest success, hen survival, and poult survival. This index allows us to gauge reproductive success and predict fall harvest potential.

During the month of August, survey participants will record the sex and age composition of all flocks of wild turkeys observed during normal travel. Individuals interested in participating can download a Summer Wild Turkey Sighting Survey form from the DEC website. Detailed instructions can be found with the data sheet. Survey cards can also be obtained by contacting your regional DEC office, by calling (518) 402-8886, or by e-mailing wildlife@dec.ny.gov (please type "Turkey Survey" in the subject line).

Monitoring Pheasants in the Genesee Valley Focus Area
Farmers in the 13 counties that comprise the Lake Plains of New York have partnered with DEC since 1945 to help survey wild pheasant populations. This effort continues in the newly established "Pheasant Habitat Focus Area" in the Genesee Valley (portions of Livingston, Genesee, Wyoming and Monroe counties). The focus area was created as a part of DEC's recently completed 10-year management plan for ring-necked pheasants. The goal of the focus area is to concentrate the efforts of public and private habitat conservation programs to benefit pheasants and other grassland birds. The surveys will help DEC monitor pheasant populations and evaluate the success of habitat management efforts in the focus area.

Those who farm land in Livingston, Genesee, Wyoming or Monroe counties can consider participating in the Farmer-Pheasant Inventory. No special observations are required; just those made during normal spring and summer farming activities. To join, contact DEC at (518) 402-8886 or by e-mail (wildlife@dec.ny.gov, write "Farmer-Pheasant Inventory" in the subject line).

Those who do not farm, but would like to contribute their pheasant observations from Livingston, Genesee, Wyoming and Monroe counties can join the Summer Pheasant Sighting Survey. During the month of August, survey participants record the sex and age of all pheasants observed during normal travel. A Summer Pheasant Sighting Survey form can be printed from the DEC website or call (518) 402-8886 for further guidance.

Additional information is available on the DEC website:
Summer Wild Turkey Sighting Survey
Pheasant Habitat Focus Area & Pheasants Surveys
Citizen Science: Wildlife Observations Data Collection
DEC Regional Office Contact Information

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