Landscape attributes and nest-site selection in wild turkeys

Authors
Citation
We. Thogmartin, Landscape attributes and nest-site selection in wild turkeys, AUK, 116(4), 1999, pp. 912-923
Citations number
56
Language
INGLESE
art.tipo
Article
Categorie Soggetti
Animal Sciences
Journal title
AUK
ISSN journal
0004-8038 → ACNP
Volume
116
Issue
4
Year of publication
1999
Pages
912 - 923
Database
ISI
SICI code
0004-8038(199910)116:4<912:LAANSI>2.0.ZU;2-X
Abstract
Rates of nesting participation, renesting, and nesting success for Wild Tur keys (Meleagris gallopavo) in the Ouachita Mountains, Arkansas, are among t he lowest recorded in the eastern United States. I studied spatial attribut es of 113 Wild Turkey nests to determine landscape-scale habitat characteri stics that were important for nest placement and survival. Hens generally n ested close to roads in large pine patches that occurred on southeast-facin g slopes. Hens selected shortleaf pine (Pinus echinata; 68.1%) over mixed h ardwood (23.9%), hardwood (0.9%), and open areas (7.1%). Most of the hens ( 57.5%) placed their nests in edge habitat, but placement in these areas did not influence nesting success. Rather, female turkeys appeared to respond to a high risk of predation by placing nests in large patches, away from ar eas of high edge density favored by nest predators. Mean patch size chosen by nesting females (6,912.6 +/- SE of 634.5 ha) was considerably larger tha n the mean patch size for the study area (31.4 +/- 7.8 ha). Although most h ens nested close to roads, this association appeared to be detrimental to n esting success because all nests close to roads were unsuccessful. In gener al, habitat characteristics examined at the level of patch and stand were g ood predictors of nest location but poor predictors of nesting success, pos sibly due to a high abundance of edge habitat in the landscape. This large amount of edge apparently sustained predator populations that made even the largest patches hazardous for nesting by Wild Turkeys. Therefore, the lack of suitable nest sites may limit population size of Wild Turkeys in the Ou achita Mountains.