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Greenwich Makes Audubon List Of Top Wild Turkey Homes

Greenwich was fifth in the Connecticut Audubon Society’s "Top Turkey" towns list.
Greenwich was fifth in the Connecticut Audubon Society’s "Top Turkey" towns list. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Greenwich Audubon

GREENWICH, CONN., -- Greenwich has been named one of the Connecticut Audubon Society’s "Top Turkey" towns based on data collected during Christmas bird counts and summer-breeding bird surveys.

The town came in fifth, behind Litchfield, Barkhamsted, Woodbury and Hartford. The rest of the top 10 were: 6. New London; 7. New Haven; 8. Oxford; 9. Sharon; and 10. Durham

Wildlife biologists from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection estimate the population of wild turkeys in the state at between 30,000 to 35,000 birds. As fall turns into winter, they often can be seen in flocks of a dozen or more, foraging through forests and parks, in suburban areas and along roadsides.

“In earlier times Americans depended upon these birds and other species found in our biologically diverse landscape. As we pause with our families at this time of year, I would hope we would all pledge to consider how we might leave our children with no less rich a world than that we inherited,” said Alex Brash, president of Connecticut Audubon Society in a prepared statement

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 American Indians 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.

After a number of failed attempts to restore wild turkeys, Connecticut state wildlife managers successfully employed a new method in the 1970s when they attracted turkeys from 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.

“It goes without saying that not all conservation stories are success stories,” Brash said in the statement. “But state wildlife managers and private conservation groups have done a wonderful job bringing wild turkeys back to their native range. It’s a reason for everyone who cares about wildlife and the environment to be thankful.”

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