Habitat Use by Eastern Wild Turkey Broods in Tennessee

Habitat use of eastern wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo silvestris) broods (1993: N= 7; 1994: N = 9) in western Tennessee were monitored for up to 2 months following hatching to determine preferred habitats during this critical period. Based on availability within their home ranges, hens and their broods selected bottomland hardwoods over other habitat types during weeks 1-4 (P < 0.001). Older broods (4-6 weeks) selected upland hardwood, upland pine, bottomland hardwood, and open habitats in that order over other habitat types (P < 0.001). Intensive monitoring of 6 broods in 1995 verified that telemetry data accurately reflected habitat use. Invertebrate biomass was lower in bottomland forests than in open habitats (P = 0.02), but apparently was adequate to meet the needs of developing poults.

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