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Gardening and More: wild turkey study enacted and new East Aurora scenic overlook created

WHAT A BEAUTIFUL VIEW ­— Public access to this vista will be made permanent with the construction of a scenic overlook in the town of Aurora. Photo courtesy WNY Land Conservancy.
WESTERN NEW YORK — The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is looking for local landowners to assist with research on wild turkeys.

“Wild turkeys are the most popular small-game species in New York, among hunters afield,” said DEC Commissioner Joseph Martens. “The data generated by this study will provide valuable information on turkey survival rates and population size, to help guide future management of this important game species.”

During the past 10 years, wild turkey populations have declined, in many parts of New York state. In an effort to better understand the factors involved, DEC is beginning the second year of a four-year study.

Beginning in January, DEC will capture wild turkey hens and fit them with leg bands. A small number of these birds will also be tagged with satellite radio transmitters. All of the work will be done by DEC personnel, on both public and private lands, from January through March.

DEC is looking for landowners interested in allowing birds to be trapped on their land. They also want landowners to alert project coordinators when they see turkeys on their property, on a regular basis. Once turkeys are trapped and banded, they will immediately be released, at the same location.

Not all locations are suitable for deploying capture equipment, so landowners should contact the regional project coordinator to discuss the suitability of their property. Observations of turkey flocks can be reported to the project coordinator or can be reported using the Winter Wild Turkey Flock Survey form, found on DEC’s website.

For our area, the project coordinator is Emilio Rende, who can be reached at 372-0645 or NYSDEC, Bureau of Wildlife, 182 East Union St., Allegany, NY 14706.

You can also get more information on this study by emailing and entering “Turkey Study” as the subject line.

From 2006-2009, DEC staff worked with landowners from across the state to assess harvest and survival of male wild turkeys. Hundreds of landowners participated in that study or provided reports of winter turkey flocks. With that project completed, DEC is once again looking for landowners interested in helping with the new study focused on hen survival.

This is part of the NY Open for Hunting and Fishing Initiative, an effort to improve recreational activities for in-state and out-of-state sportsmen and sportswomen and to boost tourism opportunities, throughout the state. This initiative includes the streamlining of hunting and fishing licensing and reducing license fees, improved access for fishing at various sites across the state and increasing hunting opportunities in various regions.

Funds raised for new scenic overlook in town of Aurora

Generations to come will be able to enjoy the breathtaking view at a scenic overlook to be constructed on Mill Road in the town of Aurora, thanks to the successful conclusion of a three-year fundraising effort.

The Friends of Mill Road, in partnership with the Western New York Land Conservancy and the town of Aurora, announced that the John R. Oishei Foundation has awarded the Mill Road Scenic Overlook project $75,000, completing fundraising for the project.

The Mill Road Scenic Overlook property is located on the west side of Mill Road, less than a half mile north of Blakeley, in the town of Aurora.

The property will be purchased by Dec. 31 and the town of Aurora will become the owner of those acres. A conservation easement will be held by the Western New York Land Conservancy, protecting the site from development, in perpetuity.

Once design and engineering is completed, the scenic overlook will be constructed, providing a safe pull-off for passing motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians to enjoy the beauty and magic of this spectacular property and its majestic views.

A ribbon-cutting will be planned, for a spring 2014 opening.

Connie Oswald Stofko is publisher of, the online gardening magazine for Western New York. Email


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