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1 March 2015 Wild Turkey Prenesting-Resource Selection in a Landscape Managed with Frequent Prescribed Fire
Eric L. Kilburg, Christopher E. Moorman, Christopher S. DePerno, David Cobb, Craig A. Harper
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Abstract

Forage and nesting cover available to female Meleagris gallopavo (Wild Turkey) prior to nesting can influence nest success. Prescribed burns commonly are conducted during the dormant season in southern Pinus (pine) forests in part to improve vegetation conditions for prenesting Wild Turkeys and reduce risk of fire-related nest failure associated with growing-season burning. However, prescribed burning during the early growing season may provide beneficial food and cover for Wild Turkeys. Therefore, we investigated the influence of fire season and frequency and vegetation characteristics on female Wild Turkey habitat selection during prenesting in a Pinus palustris (Longleaf Pine) community managed with frequent growing-season prescribed fire in North Carolina. Growing-season fire history was not predictive of prenesting habitat selection. Females selected forest stands burned during the preceding dormant season, edges of non-forested cover, and creek drainages. On our study area, ericaceous shrubs along creek drainages provided nesting cover, and greater probability of use near creeks likely reflected females searching for potential nest sites. Recent dormant-season burns may provide an important source of nutrition for pre-nesting females and should be used in addition to growing-season burns when managing for Wild Turkeys.

Eric L. Kilburg, Christopher E. Moorman, Christopher S. DePerno, David Cobb, and Craig A. Harper "Wild Turkey Prenesting-Resource Selection in a Landscape Managed with Frequent Prescribed Fire," Southeastern Naturalist 14(1), 137-146, (1 March 2015). https://doi.org/10.1656/058.014.0114
Published: 1 March 2015
JOURNAL ARTICLE
10 PAGES


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