Natural Resources, School of


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

DOI 10.1186/s13717-016-0051-7



© 2016 Little et al. Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License


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.