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Nest site fidelity and dispersal of Rio Grande wild turkey hens in Texas


  • Associate Editor: Michael Chamberlain


Rio Grande wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo intermedia) nests suffer high predation rates exceeding 65%, which may limit recruitment. We evaluated post-nesting movements of reproductively active female Rio Grande wild turkeys. We monitored 194 nesting attempts between 2005 and 2010 and documented 17% and 32% overall apparent nest success for the Edwards Plateau and Central Rio Grande Plains study regions, respectively. Rio Grande wild turkey hens move approximately 1.2 km (SD = 0.7) between nesting attempts within a nesting season and approximately 1.4 km (SD = 1.6) between initial nesting attempts among years. Rio Grande wild turkey hens selected open areas with moderate woody cover for nesting (equation image = 37.7%; range = 3.0–88.2%). Patchiness of vegetation in the nesting landscape also was borne out by typically low edge-to-area ratios (equation image = 0.20; range = 0.040–0.732). We found no clear pattern in movement distance and either landscape composition or edge-to-area ratio for within or between breeding season nest site selection for either the Edwards Plateau or Central Rio Grande Plains study region. Based on our results, movement distances post-nest failure do not seem to influence habitat selection. © 2012 The Wildlife Society.