Turkey Rhode Island
Photo Credit: Dean Birch

Rhode Island DEM Asks Public to Report Wild Turkey Sightings

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) is calling on residents to contribute to its annual Wild Turkey Brood Survey by reporting sightings of wild turkeys. Biologists from DEM’s Division of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) are particularly interested in observations of females (hens) with or without poults (chicks), and males (gobblers, toms, jakes), to enhance research efforts.

Community reports will provide essential data on the health, trends, and distribution of Rhode Island’s turkey population. The number of poults observed offers insights into the number of young turkeys joining the fall population, while the male observations help estimate the male-to-female ratio. The survey, aligned with protocols from the National Wild Turkey Federation, runs from July 1 to August 31. Community participation is crucial, as this survey typically yields hundreds of brood reports annually.

To participate, the public can submit observations via Survey123, an online survey platform. This tool allows users to download the Survey123 app on their smartphones for mobile reporting or to complete the survey on a computer. For those without access to digital devices, observations can be recorded on a datasheet provided by DFW, which should be returned by September 15.

The survey link, available from July 1, can be accessed here: Survey123 Link. More information, including an observation guide and datasheet, can be found in the Wild Turkey Brood Survey Packet.

DEM’s ongoing efforts aim to protect and enhance wildlife habitats in Rhode Island’s forests and management areas, ensuring healthier, more diverse, and abundant wildlife populations. Wild turkeys were extirpated in the early 1800s due to land-use changes and overharvesting. In 1980, DEM, in collaboration with the National Wild Turkey Federation, initiated a restoration program by translocating 29 turkeys from Vermont to Exeter, RI, with continued efforts in the 1990s. This program successfully established turkey flocks in various locations including Exeter, Burrillville, Little Compton, West Greenwich, Foster, Scituate, and Tiverton.

Today, wild turkeys thrive across the state, providing recreational and wildlife viewing opportunities. The restoration project, funded by state hunting license fees and the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration program, has greatly benefited Rhode Island’s turkey population and the broader ecosystem.




Like Newport Buzz? We depend on the generosity of readers like you who support us, to help with our mission to keep you informed and entertained with local, independent news and content. We truly appreciate your trust and support!