See wild turkeys? DEM wants to hear from you

(Ken Paris/Flickr Commons/CC-BY-ND-2.0)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) is asking the public to report wild turkey sightings with or without a brood.

According to DEM spokesperson Gail Mastrati, the wild turkey population in Rhode Island is currently estimated at 3,000 birds.

The DEM said the hundreds of brood reports it receives annually help researchers determine how many birds survive after common causes of bird death, including weather, sickness and automobile accidents.

DEM is looking to gather more information to aid in its research with monitoring population dynamics and distribution of wild turkeys as part of an overall effort to protect and improve Rhode Island’s wildlife, says Mastrati.

If you’ve noticed more turkeys in recent years – it’s by design.

From 1980 to 1996, the DEM ran a turkey relocation project funded by state hunting license fees and the Federal Aid to Wildlife Restoration program. The program released wild-trapped turkeys and established new flocks throughout Rhode Island.

To report a turkey sighting, fill out an online survey or call the Division of Fish and Wildlife at (401) 789-0281

For more information about turkeys and for updates visit www.dem.ri.gov and follow DEM on Twitter and Facebook.