Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation

 

Selected life history aspects and habitat use by Merriam's wild turkeys in Oregon Public Deposited

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https://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/hh63t128m

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  • Habitat use and reproductive success by Merriam's wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo merriami) were studied in Wasco County, Oregon, during 1981-82. This low density turkey population selectively used forested cover types characterized by a variety of structural features, species, and age classes. They avoided monotypic forested cover types, used non-forested cover types in proportion to their availability, and never used forested cover types with structure simplified by logging activities. Reproductive success and nesting habitat were described for 25 Merriam's wild turkey hens. A higher proportion of adults than yearlings attempted to nest (75 vs. 25%) and were more successful (90 vs. 25%). Nests were located in 5 of 14 available cover types; only thinned, mixed conifer was used more than it occurred. Thinned, mixed conifer stands contained 52% of the nests, of which 82% were successful. Two measures of vegetative screening (shrub density and visual obstruction at 0.5 m) were significantly greater at sites used for nesting than at random sites. Characteristics of trees and cover types in which Merriam's wild turkeys roosted were described for 36 roosts used by hens during winter, spring, and summer. Four of 14 cover types were used for roosting; only mature, mixed conifer was used significantly more than it occurred on the study area. Seasonal differences in roost characteristics (number of trees/site, canopy cover, slope, and DBH) were attributed to flock size and composition. I suggest that complexity both within and among cover types is an important component of habitat for Merriam's wild turkeys, which should be considered in the evaluation of potential release sites and in habitat management plans for existing populations. I recommend creating nesting habitat by thinning pole-size stands in the Douglas-- fir (pseudotsuga menziesij) zone and leaving slash in stands. Additionally, adult rather than yearling hens should be released in transplant operations.
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