Great Basin Naturalist


Wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) brood-rearing sites have been described for portions of their range, but brood-rearing habitat use and characteristics of brood-rearing sites used by Rio Grande Wild Turkeys (M. g. intermedia) in the Pacific Northwest were unknown. We described cover types at 362 brood-rearing sites and measured habitat characteristics at 64 of these sites used by a recently established Rio Grande Wild Turkey population in southwestern Oregon during May–September 1989 and 1990. Hens with broods used 9 of 10 available cover types. Meadows, mixed hardwood/conifer woodlands, and savannas were used more often than expected (47% of observations, P ≤ 0.05). Broods used mature mixed conifer and dense sapling/pole mixed conifer cover types less than expected and did not use brush-fields. Many brood-rearing sites were characterized by a parklike appearance. Understory vegetation averaged <20 cm tall and occupied 44–52% of brood-rearing sites, whereas bare ground accounted for 35–55%. Brood-rearing sites were on southeast slopes more often than expected and north slopes less than expected (P ≤ 0.05). We suggest that land managers maintain mixed hardwood/conifer woodland and savanna cover types adjacent to meadows on south slopes to provide brood-rearing habitat for Rio Grande Wild Turkeys in southwestern Oregon.