Effects of growing-season prescribed fire on eastern wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo silvestris) nest success and poult survivial in southwestern Georgia
Williams, Mary Margaret
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Growing-season prescribed fire effects on nest success, nest survival, poult survival, and nest and ground-roost site selection of eastern wild turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo silvestris) were investigated on 2 southwestern Georgia sites of predominantly pine and pine-hardwood forests—the Joseph W. Jones Ecological Research Center and Silver Lake Wildlife Management Area. Of 52 nests 11.5% were lost to fire, and nest survival rates indicated those nests would have likely been successful otherwise. However, 75% of affected females renested, thus mitigating negative fire effects. Fire had a minimal impact (4%) on poult survival. Nests had less canopy cover and greater woody ground cover and minimum vegetation height, and ground-roosts were located farther from mature pine stands than random sites. Rotating, small-scale, growing-season fires should promote habitat improvement while offsetting nest losses. Maintaining open areas within and around Southeastern U.S. pine and pine-hardwood forests should enhance understory growth for nest and ground-roost cover.