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Wild Turkey: Summer Survey

Hen Turkey

Thank You For Reporting Wild Turkey Sightings!

During the June 1 to Aug. 31, 2020, reporting period, the FWC received over 4,000 reports of wild turkey sightings in all 67 counties, thanks to you! This information will help us gain a greater understanding about wild turkey distribution and abundance. Review a summary of the 2020 Wild Turkey Summer Survey.

While the 2020 reporting period has ended, we hope you'll participate in this important effort from June 1 to Aug. 31, 2021, and report all wild turkey sightings throughout Florida, including rural and developed areas. FWC biologists are interested in sightings of hens with and without poults (young wild turkeys) and male birds (jakes and gobblers). 

 

Why the Survey is Important

Wild turkeys are abundant in Florida and are found throughout the state.

Nesting success can vary each year based on several factors including weather conditions, predation, and habitat characteristics/quality. Fluctuations in nesting success and brood survival strongly influence wild turkey populations. When reproduction in a given year improves, populations tend to increase in subsequent years. By reporting wild turkey sightings, you're helping provide a way to gauge wild turkey nesting success, brood survival, and population dynamics at a statewide level. 

Florida’s annual summer wild turkey survey is part of a larger regional study designed to provide more insight into the distribution and abundance of wild turkeys. The information, combined with harvest data, lets FWC biologists scientifically manage the wild turkey population—ensuring we have a thriving population now and in the future.

Photo courtesy of Glenn Whittington

Poults
Turkey Nest

About Nesting and Brood Rearing

  • In Florida, wild turkeys begin breeding in late February and early March.
  • Egg laying usually begins in mid-to late March, though nesting dates can range from early March to early June.
  • Hens create a nest by scratching a shallow depression in the soil where she lays an average of 9 to 11 eggs.
  • It takes approximately 12-13 days to lay the full clutch of eggs and another 25-26 days of continuous incubation for them to hatch. Hens do all the incubating and brood rearing.
  • Newly hatched wild turkeys, called poults, are highly mobile and can feed themselves soon after hatching.
  • Poults are flightless until they are about 2 weeks old. During that time, they roost on the ground under the hen’s wings and tail until they develop enough to fly into low branches or small trees.
  • Poults eat primarily insects during the summer. They need the protein for growth and flight feather development.
  • Learn more about wild turkeys and wild turkey management.