Microhabitat Characteristics of Wild Turkey Prenest and Nest Site Selection in Central Mississippi

We radio-monitored 35 wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) hens during prenesting and nesting periods in central Mississippi, 1996-1997. Comparing microhabitat variables associated with prenesting areas (N = 35) and nest sites (N = 22) with random sites indicated that groundstory conditions, including grass and woody growth, were related to hen selection of both prenesting and nesting sites. Distance to nearest road, vertical vegetative cover, and basal area were not related to nest site location (P > 0.05). We recommend managers maintain habitats with abundant grasses within landscapes managed for wild turkeys. Research addressing depredation of hens during reproductive periods should incorporate and quantify microhabitat conditions.

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