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Connecticut’s Top Turkey Towns

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More than 30,000 wild turkeys call Connecticut home these days, with populations in all 169 of the state’s municipalities, according to the Connecticut Audion Society. But there are some towns with more turkeys than others.

In a release issued today, the society identified the state’s Top Ten Turkey Towns. But that’s just a starting point, said Milan Bull, Connecticut Audubon’s senior director of science and conservation, who noted that “although these are our top ten turkey towns, the truth is it’s hard to go anywhere in Connecticut without seeing a Wild Turkey these days.”

Check out the top 10 towns where you’re most likely to hear gobbling in the woods:

The Audubon provides some interesting context to the large turkey population in Connecticut. Here’s a bit from their release:

It was only 40 years ago that a border-to-border search in Connecticut for Wild Turkeys would have yielded nothing. The symbol of Thanksgiving and a bird whose abundance helped sustain both Native Americans and European colonizers, Wild Turkeys were extirpated three centuries ago by a combination of over-hunting and habitat change, namely the clearing of forests for pasture and farms.

But when the forests came back in the 20th century, the turkeys did not. As recently as 1959, in his landmark book Wildlife in America, author Peter Matthiessen wrote that the Wild Turkey “has been all but extirpated from its northern range, and is now rare outside of remote southern forests.”

After a number of failed attempts to restore Wild Turkeys, Connecticut state wildlife managers successfully employed a new method in the 1970s: they attracted turkeys in New York with bait and then used rockets to shoot a large, lightweight net over them. The 22 captured turkeys were released in Connecticut, where they took up residence. In subsequent years, as turkeys successfully bred and increased in number, wildlife managers used the same method to capture turkeys in Connecticut and move them elsewhere in the state.

The result is a large population, easily visible as they forage through their habitat of forests and open fields, eating acorns, seeds, invertebrates and insects.

 

 

Maggie Gordon

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