ABSTRACT

Nest loss due to depredation or mortality of nesting females is a primary factor limiting Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) population growth. As such, significant research has focused on identifying nest site characteristics influencing success. While evaluations of factors driving nest success and predation are common, to our knowledge few events of female perseverance leading to nest success have been identified. During a study on reproductive ecology of Gould's Wild Turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo mexicana) in Arizona, we observed nesting perseverance of a female Gould's Wild Turkey under multiple, repeated predation threats (known nest predators within 2 m of nest site). The female had 7 uniquely identifiable interactions on incubation days 10, 13, 14, 16, 17, 21, and 25 with black bears (Ursus americanus), gray foxes (Urocyon cinereoargenteus), and white-nosed coatis (Nasua narica), as well as >10 interactions with an Arizona gray squirrel (Sciurus arizonensis). However, the female continued to incubate and successfully hatched the full clutch on 6 August 2017. Our observations suggest that close proximity of known nest predators may not always lead to nest loss, and that individual female responses may vary extensively and contribute to nest success.

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