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Help Us Count Wild Turkey Broods!
Connecticut residents are encouraged to keep a tally of all sightings of hen turkeys and poults (young-of-the-year) from June 1 through August 31 as part of an Annual Wild Turkey Brood Survey. Results from this survey enable the Wildlife Division to estimate the average number of turkey poults per hen statewide, assess annual fluctuations in the turkey population, gauge reproductive success each year, and evaluate recruitment of new birds into the fall population. Those interested in participating can download a Wild Turkey Observation Form (PDF) to record observations during the survey time period. Instructions are on the data sheet. This is a great way to partner with the Wildlife Division to help monitor Connecticut's wild turkey population.
Chimney Swift Conservation Night: May 22, 2017
The 5th annual Chimney Swift Conservation Night will be at the Willimantic Brewing Co. (Main St. CafĂ©), 967 Main St., Willimantic, on Monday, May 22, 2017.  Join chimney swift researchers from CT DEEP and UCONN for a wonderful meal, specialty brews - including "Flying Cigar Ale" - and the amazing spectacle of hundreds, perhaps thousands of chimney swifts "tornadoeing" into two of Connecticut's largest summer roosts. DEEP and UCONN researchers will be at the Brewing Co. starting at 5:30 PM. "Showtime" for the swifts is typically 20 minutes before sundown to 30 minutes after sundown (8:00 PM). If you plan on eating dinner (not required to participate in the viewing), reservations are recommended -- call 860-423-6777. 

SAVE THE DATE! Connecticut Hunting and Fishing Day
Saturday, September 23, 2017, from 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM

New Location:  Cabela's (475 East Hartford Blvd. N., in East Hartford). This FREE event is a cooperative effort between the DEEP Bureau of Natural Resources and Cabela's. Lots of fun activities for the whole family are planned.

Balloons -- Don't Let Them Go!
Immature laughing gull tangled in balloon string.
While balloons are a popular celebration tribute for graduations, holidays, birthdays, etc., DO NOT release helium balloons into the air. Under Connecticut General Statutes, it is illegal for any person or any group to intentionally release 10 or more helium balloons per day. This law was passed to protect wildlife, particularly marine animals that live in Long Island Sound. A summer breeze can transport balloons released in inland areas all the way to the Sound. Once in the Sound, the deflated balloons - just like plastic bags and other floating plastic garbage - look like food (mainly jellyfish) to some sea creatures. When marine animals, particularly sea turtles, eat the floating plastic, their digestive systems become blocked and the animals die. If balloons land on the ground before reaching Long Island Sound, they create litter that is hazardous to wildlife. Animals and birds can also become entangled in ribbon attached to a balloon and could die from starvation or strangulation.
Wanted: Landowners Willing to Provide Public Hunting Access
The DEEP Wildlife Division recently received a $612,500 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program to expand Connecticut's Permit-Required Hunting Program and increase private land hunting opportunities. Under this program, landowners who own a farm or forested land can be paid between $3.00 to $20.00 per acre annually if the land is made available for hunting by the public. The Division is looking to expand hunting opportunities on private lands in Hartford, New Haven, and Fairfield Counties. Landowners with at least 50 acres are eligible to enroll, though smaller properties may be considered.

International Migratory Bird Day, May 13, 2017
"Helping Birds Along the Way" is the theme for this year's International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD), the only international education program that celebrates the migration of nearly 350 bird species between their nesting habitats in North America and wintering grounds in Latin America, Mexico, and the Caribbean. 

This year, IMBD will celebrate the importance of stopover sites, crucial refuges where migratory birds rest and refuel before continuing their remarkable journeys. Because these flights can stretch thousands of miles across continents and oceans, the birds depend on a handful of resource-rich and strategically located habitats to acquire the energy-rich fat stores they need to survive.

Participate in an  International Migratory Bird Day Walk on Saturday, May 13, at the Wildlife Division's Sessions Woods Wildlife Management Area, starting at 7:30 AM (please pre-register at laura.rogers-castro@ct.gov) or the Belding Wildlife Management Area on Bread and Milk Road in Vernon, starting at 8:00 AM (for more information, contact Jane Seymour at 860-306-5418).   More programs . . .
New Habitat Management Program Available to Private Forestland Owners
American woodcock
The DEEP Wildlife Division has an exciting new partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Wildlife Management Institute to cooperate on the Regional Young Forest Initiative for At-Risk Species. The Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) will increase the capacity to provide technical and financial assistance to non-industrial private forestland owners wishing to implement practices outlined in the Environmental Quality Incentives Program. In Connecticut, the program will result in an increase in the quantity and quality of young forest habitat essential to New England cottontail rabbits, American woodcock, and over 50 other species associated with young forest habitat.  RCPP staff is currently reaching out for potential program participants. The first deadline for project applications is June 16, 2017.

Mute Swan Nesting Area Sign

Private landowners, towns, organizations, and others can print or download a Mute Swan Nesting Area Sign (PDF) to post near swan nests to warn boaters in small watercrafts to keep their distance. While nesting and raising young, mute swans will aggressively defend their territories against perceived threats. Signs should be laminated to prevent weather damage.
Summer is a good time to take a Hunter Safety Course: The Wildlife Division's Conservation Education/Firearms Safety Program offers courses year-round for firearms hunting, bowhunting, and trapping. The courses are taught by certified volunteer instructors. Check the list of available courses -- if a class is not offered near you or is full, keep checking back. Classes are added continuously throughout the year.
Turtles and Roads Are a Deadly Combination
Female eastern box turtle
The months of May through July are the nesting season for many turtles. At this time, egg-bearing females travel across land to find the perfect location to dig a nest and lay eggs. Aquatic turtles also leave the water in search of terrestrial nesting sites. Connecticut's landscape is highly fragmented by busy roads, and many turtles are forced to travel great distances - and across roadways - to find suitable nesting habitat. Helping a turtle move across the road can be the difference between life and death for the animal, and for future generations, BUT YOUR SAFETY COMES FIRST. Be sure to assist a turtle in the road only when it is safe to do so and do not attempt to stop traffic.

Guidance on assisting turtles . . .
Species of the Month: Snapping Turtle
An incredible diversity of wildlife species can be found in our state. Take some time to discover Connecticut's wildlife!

If you ever wanted to see a snapping turtle out of the water, the months of May through July (the nesting season) offer the best opportunity. Snapping turtles rarely leave their aquatic habitat except during the breeding season, at which time females travel great distances in search of a place to dig a nest and lay eggs. Some turtles have been found as far as a mile from the nearest water source. Selected nest sites include lawns, gardens, road embankments, and sometimes muskrat burrows. Learn more about the natural history of the snapping turtle and what to do if you see one crossing the road or nesting in your yard. Find answers to frequently asked questions about snapping turtles.

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