Date of this Version
Eastern wild turkey nest site selection in two frequently burned pine savannas by A.R. Little, N.P. Nibbelink, M.J. Chamberlain, L.M. Conner, R.J. Warren. Ecological Processes (2016) 5:4
Introduction: Reproductive success is a critical factor affecting avian demographics and can be influenced by many factors including nesting chronology, predation risk, and fine-scale nest site selection.
Methods: We modeled the relative influences of habitat-related covariates at six spatial scales (nest site: 15-, 40-, 80-, 120-, 160-, and 200-m radii) on Eastern wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo silvestris) nest site selection in two pine savannas managed by frequent prescribed fire (≤3 years) in southwestern Georgia during 2011–2013.
Results: Nest site (15-m scale) habitat metrics (mean visual obstruction [cm] and canopy closure [%]) had the greatest influence on nest site selection relative to covariates measured at larger spatial scales. Scaled odds ratios suggested that nests were 26.8 % more likely to occur for every 10 cm increase in mean vegetation height with a range of 7.5 to 150.0 cm and 18.5 % less likely to occur for every 10 % increase in canopy closure with a range from 0.0 to 97.8 %. Total ground cover, canopy closure, edge density, and percent land cover type (e.g., mature pine, mixed pine/hardwood, shrub/scrub) had minimal influence on nest site selection.
Conclusions: Management of pine savannas for turkey nest sites should focus on creating early-successional vegetation to conceal nests from potential predators. Additionally, we suggest that future studies consider evaluating the influence of spatial scale on turkey nest site selection.