Distribution, Fidelity, and Abundance of Rio Grande Wild Turkey Roosts in the Texas Coastal Sand Plains

Sustainable management of wild turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo) requires information on distribution and abundance across the range. Techniques for surveying wild turkey populations in Texas are constrained by land access issues, requiring integration of landowners and managers into monitoring activities. We evaluated the use of 1) aerial surveys for estimating the distribution of Rio Grande wild turkeys (M. g. intermedia) relative to roosting habitat, and 2) multiple-observer roost counts for estimating local turkey abundance and roost-site fidelity within the Texas coastal sand plain. Double observer surveys indicated that detection probabilities varied little between observers, with detection rates typically exceeding 0.80. Estimated roost-site fidelity was 0.84 with roost-level detection ranging between 0.69 and 0.79. Based on these data, aerial distributional surveys conducted at the physiographic region scale combined with abundance monitoring using multiple-observer roost counts on a random sample of private lands within the region should provide a framework for long-term monitoring of Rio Grande wild turkeys in Texas and other semiarid regions of the United States.

Publication date
Starting page
Ending page