Movement of Wild Turkey Hens in Relanon to Their Nests

Wild turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo osceola) on a study area in Florida nested 1.4 miles from winter release sites and 1.2 miles from their late winter range. Net distance and direction of movement of 12 hens from winter range to nesting sites was only about 0.2 miles west. The hens usually roosted within one mile of their nests during the laying period (mean distance 0.8). Renesting was within one mile (mean 0.8) ofthe first nest. Two hens radio-tracked during the laying period used 100 to 200 acres daily and usually roosted 'ess than one mile from their nests. Laying was in late morning through early afternoon. Hens tended to visit their nests for about one hour during the first half of the laying period, but remained progressively longer with each egg laid after the sixth or seventh. During the period of incubating behavior, hens left their nests about every two days (mean 1.86) for about two hours (mean 1.95) but were extremely variable in this. They were six times more frequently absent from their nests in mid-morning or late afternoon than at noon. One hen continued incubating behavior on a clutch of infertile eggs for 64 days. Some management implications are discussed.

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