Nest-site Characteristics of Relocated Eastern Wild Turkeys in Texas

Past research suggests nesting habitat limits survival and growth of some eastern wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo silvestris) populations. However, information on nest-site selection is primarily on established populations with limited data on restocked birds. Our objectives were to assess nest-site characteristics of relocated birds and determine causes of nest failure in the Post Oak Savannah of eastern Texas. Radio-tagged wild turkey hens (N = 48) were relocated to 4 areas in winter 1994. We compared understory and ground cover characteristics between 22 nest sites of radio-tagged turkeys and 22 random sites. Furthermore, we measured Euclidean distance to transition zones (“edges”) and presence/absence of protective barriers (“guard object”) at nest and random sites. Important nest-site characteristics were lateral cover, height of vegetation, and protective barriers. Mammalian predation was the major cause of nest failure.

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