Roosting Of Young Turkey Broods During Summer In Florida

During spring and summer in 1969 and 1970 approximately 200 observations were made of wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) brood roosting sites, most of which were found by radio-telemetry. The age that broods began to roost in trees varied from 12 to 19 days for the 14 broods. Most of the ground roosts were located under forest canopies in sparse ground cover. Brood hens normally did not defecate in their ground roosts. After tree roosting began, broods utilized cypress (Taxodium ascendens and T. distichum) and pine (Pinus palustris and P. elliottii) more than all other trees combined. The first night off the ground was typically spent on a horizontal limb 2 to 3 inches in diameter about 22 feet above the ground. Within three days they began to roost higher in the trees, but roost limb diameters were about the same size. Most of the roost trees were over water. Broods did not attempt to seek concealment in spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoides) or thick foliage while roosting in trees although this cover was readily available to them. Broods utilized a different site for roosting each night, but there was a tendency for the roosts to be clustered in favorite roosting areas. Four broods traveled an average of .27 miles between successive nightly roost sites. One brood moved an average of .24 miles farther each night than the other three broods.

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