The wild turkeys in California today are not the species that once roamed the region more than 10,000 years ago. The state started establishing turkey populations here in 1959, primarily for hunting. Ever since the state stopped releasing the birds in the late 1990s, the population has grown and moved into cities. State officials say there are ongoing nuisance complaints from homeowners. They're addressed on a case-by-case basis.
Almost everyone who lives in the Sacramento area, it seems, has a story about a turkey sighting. But according to the last map generated by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife in 2004, turkeys don't live among us.
While some ecologists, native plant and wildlife advocates remain concerned about the presence of the birds, state wildlife managers say the turkeys are here to stay, and people should "learn to live with turkeys." In a conversation with Capital Public Radio, the state raised questions about the need to create a new map with more updated information about the turkeys' range.
Capital Public Radio wants to know just how prevalant wild turkeys are in urban areas, and how their range has changed since 10 years ago. So we started our own map, using data from you, to help us to get a better understanding of where these wild birds are today.
One useful website collects data from birders: EBird.org
Send us your turkey sighting photo - taken within the last year - with a note about where you spotted it. Use the form below, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We may share this information with wildlife managers and ecologists to help inform the conversation about wild turkeys' evolution in California.
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