Characteristics and Use of Wild Turkey Roost Sites in Southcentral South Dakota

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Craft, Randall Allen
South Dakota State University
wild turkey; roosting; telemetry; timber; South Dakota; Natural Resources and Conservation
artifact description
Ten radio-tagged wild turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo)were monitored to document roost site use and bird movements in the Missouri River breaks complex of southcentral South Dakota during the summer of 1984. Distances between roost sites used by wild turkeys ranged from 0.55 km to 3.09 km. Primary and secondary roost sites were identified. Turkeys used one primary roost site consistently every night during periods ranging from a few days to 2 months, then moved to other primary roost sites. Secondary roost sites were used inconsistently by only a few birds that occupied the roost one night, and did not return on subsequent nights. Vegetative characteristics were sampled in roost plots and compared to control plots using discriminant analysis and analysis of variance. Total basal area explained the most variation between all roost plots and all control plots. Wild turkeys selected forested regions with relatively large basal areas. Roost plots averaged 30.2 m /ha while control plots averaged 13.12 m2 /ha. American basswood (Tilia americana) and eastern cottonwood (Populus deltoides) classifications comprised 81% of roost plots sampled and chi-square analysis indicated strong selection by turkeys for these 2 tree species.