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Early Nest Initiation and Vegetation Density Enhance Nest Survival in Wild Turkeys

We evaluated nest site selection and found that nest initiation date had the strongest effect on daily nest survival.  In fact, hens that nested at the early stages of nesting season were ~4 times more likely to successfully nest than females late in nesting season.  We also found that vegetation density mattered, in that nests with more obstruction survived better, but initiation dates are likely the most critical driver of nest success.  We suspect that hens who nest earlier may be in better body condition and be more attentive to nests.  Our findings indicate that increasing reproductive success may hinge on hens being able to nest as early as possible each spring.

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