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Publication Information

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Title: Roosting habitat of Merriam's turkeys in the Black Hills, South Dakota

Author: Rumble, Mark A.;

Date: 1992

Source: Journal of Wildlife Management. 56(4): 750-759.

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: Lack of roost habitat (trees >40 cm diameter breast height [dbh] and >18 m2/ha basal area) can limit populations of Merriam’s turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo merriami). The Black Hills region has relatively large populations of Merriam’s turkeys, yet trees >40 cm dbh are uncommon. Consequently, I studied roosting habitat of this subspecies in a hierarchical manner to quantify roost habitat requirements in an area of apparent limited suitable roost habitat. Little or no selection for roosts occurred among macrohabitats. Basal area at roost sites averaged 19 - 25 m2/ha. Winter and summer (excluding hens with poult) roost sites were more similar than roost sites selected by hens with poults or random sites. Vegetative characteristics at roost plots showed trends toward trees with larger dbh, lower tree density (stems/ha), and higher basal area (m2/ha). Roost trees averaged 35 cm dbh, but trees >23 cm dbh were used. Roost trees had layered horizontal branches and often large dbh, but large dbh was not a prerequisite for roost trees. Timber management practices in the Black Hills that modify the forest below 21 m2/ha and decrease the number of 25-35 cm dbh trees will reduce roosting habitat for Merriam’s turkeys.

Keywords: turkeys, Meleagris gallopavo merriami, habitat selection, roosting, Black Hills

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Rumble, Mark A. 1992. Roosting habitat of Merriam's turkeys in the Black Hills, South Dakota. Journal of Wildlife Management. 56(4): 750-759.


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