Habitat Use by Wild Turkeys in Northwest Alabama

Seasonal habitat preferences for 74 wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) hens and 38 gobblers were studied using radio telemetry over a 5-year period in northwest Alabama. Sixty-seven nests of radio-instrumented hens were found; 54 were in mixed herbaceous, low, brushy habitats and 13 were in open hardwood forest. Improved grazed pastures were the preferred brood-rearing habitat for the 23 hens whose broods survived to 14 days of age. Small plots with little growing vegetation were primarily preferred by 15 unsuccessful hens with broods surviving <14 days. Spring habitat preferences in 77 hen and 36 gobbler ranges included pastures, creekbottom hardwoods, and wildlife openings. Summer habitat preferences in 50 hen and 37 gobbler ranges were pastures, creekbottom hardwoods, and wildlife openings. Winter habitat preferences in 56 hen and 32 gobbler ranges were creekbottom hardwoods and wildlife openings.

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