Losses of the Eastern Wild Turkey from a Stable Alabama Population

Loss rates of the eastern wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo silvestris Vieillot) from the Saugahatchee Wildlife Research Area (SRA) in central Alabama. increased with increased turkey population levels. After the expanding population stabilized, winter losses of adult and young turkeys aproximated 50 percent of the fall population. Poults captured as brood flocks in 1971, dispersed up to 6.44 km from their first summer range by the fall of 1972. Juvenile hens exhibited greater dispersal and variation in dispersal from their first summer range than did juvenile gobblers. Observation of turkeys in areas adjacent to the SRA indicated that dispersal resulting in emigration was a substantial factor contributing to the loss of turkeys from the SRA. Emigration from the SRA occurred during the fall break-up of brood flocks. Ten of 15 radio-equipped turkey poults were lost from the SRA. Four of the losses were attributed to emigration, two observed mortality and four to illegal kill.

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