I am a PhD student at Trent University focusing on the study of wild turkey social structure and behaviour.
One of my research goals is to determine the feasibility of deriving accurate population estimates for wild turkeys using citizen science data collected from platforms such as eBird and iNaturalist.
I will compare population estimates derived from eBird and iNaturalist with population estimates derived from conventional methods, such as road line transects and aerial surveys.
Last winter (December 1, 2017 – March 31, 2018) I ran a pilot project in Peterborough County, to explore how we might be able to use data gathered by citizen scientists to predict wild turkey population size, and we received over 200 wild turkey observations!
This year we have expanded the project and are requesting wild turkey observations province-wide. This means that if you spot a wild turkey flock anywhere in Ontario from December 1st, 2019 to March 31st, 2020 and submit your sighting to eBird or iNaturalist your observation will be used to help estimate how many wild turkeys call Ontario home.
This project aims to develop accurate methods to estimate wild turkey population size throughout Ontario. Turkeys were once extirpated from the province and have since been reintroduced. Populations have increased since reintroduction and wild turkeys are now legally harvested in many areas. As a reintroduced game species it is especially important that we monitor populations to ensure that we are harvesting sustainably.