Great Basin Naturalist


Habitat use and selection by Merriam's Wild Turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo merriami) in Wasco County, Oregon, was studied during 1981–82. This turkey population selectively used forested cover types (such as ponderosa pine–Douglas-fir–oak, ponderosa pine–oak) characterized by a variety of structural features, species, and age classes. The population used single species forested cover types (oak, ponderosa pine) less than expected, used nonforested cover types in proportion to their availability, and avoided forested cover types with structure simplified by logging activities. The four age and sex classes had large seasonal home ranges (x̄ = 1,615 ha); the smallest home ranges were exhibited by adult males in winter and the largest were shown by subadult males in fall. In most instances, turkeys used cover types as they were available. We suggest that structural complexity of vegetation, both within and among cover types, is an important component of habitat for Merriam's Wild Turkeys that should be considered in the evaluation of potential release sites and in habitat management plans.