You may have seen them strolling the streets of Cambridge, or been chased down by one in Brookline. You may even follow them on Twitter.
We’re talking about turkeys, of course, and the next time you see such a fowl, the state is asking that you take notice and fill out a survey.
Every summer, the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife conducts a Brood Survey from June 1 through August 31 to estimate the number of turkeys in the state, and the division is asking that the public help participate.
“The brood survey helps our biologists determine productivity and compare long-term reproductive success while providing an estimate of fall harvest potential,” according to Mass Wildlife. “Citizen involvement in this survey is a cost-effective means of gathering useful data, and can be a fun way for people to connect with nature.”
Turkey nesting success, the division says, can vary based on a number of factors, like weather conditions, predator populations and habitat characteristics.
Bedford Turkey getting all prettied up pic.twitter.com/URJXJvHXcY
— Rogue Turkey ? (@TurkeyGangMA) June 2, 2018
The state is asking residents to keep an eye out for hens (female turkeys), poults (newly-hatched turkeys), toms (adult male turkeys) and jakes (juvenile male turkeys). If you need help parsing out which is which, the state has a handy guide to identifying turkeys online.
Wild turkeys are active during the day, according to Mass Wildlife, and often roost in large trees at night to avoid predators. In residential areas, though, you may see turkeys roosting on railings, roofs and even vehicles.
Many Massachusetts residents have had a run in with a turkey, but the state says “Don’t let turkeys intimidate you.” If they get too close or follow you around, you can scare them away with a loud noise, a broom or the spray of a hose.
But mostly, the state just wants you to keep your eyes open for these fowls. So if you spot a tom, or peek a poult, record the sighting. There are two ways to participate in the survey: you can record individual observations through an online form or by downloading and printing the Turkey Brood Survey and mailing it to Brood Survey, MassWildlife Field Headquarters, 1 Rabbit Hill Road Westborough, MA 01581.