Silent songbirds and hot weather make birding less interesting in August. Here's a project to get you going in Pennsylvania: It's time to count wild turkeys.
Every August the Pennsylvania Game Commission conducts a wild turkey survey to determine breeding success. Everyone from biologists to birders can help. Two factors add interest to the count:
- Juvenile turkeys, called poults, are only half grown so you can tell (and count) the difference between adults and this year's young.
- You'll also get practice identifying adult males versus females. (You can ignore the adult/juvenile tail-clue because juveniles are just plain small in August.)
The guidelines for the survey are pretty simple:
- Record turkey sightings during the month of August.
- Count "big birds" (adults) and "little birds" (poults).
- Record the sex of all adults. Here's the full size poster that describes the difference between males and females.
- For adult females, separate the count "with young" and "without."
- Note where you see the birds. When you submit your observations (online here or download the app), click on the embedded map and the form will automatically fill in the location details.
- Submit a separate report for each flock of turkeys observed, including those without poults, and lone turkeys.
- Try NOT to report the SAME flock MULTIPLE times. Duplicate flocks bias the results.
Thanks to Mary Ann Pike for passing along this news.
(photo from Wikimedia Commons; click on the image to see the original)
p.s. Did you know you can sex turkeys by the shape of their droppings? Learn more at PGC's Turkey Biology FAQ page.