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Influence of weather on gobbling activity of male wild turkeys

Citation

Wightman, Patrick (2022), Influence of weather on gobbling activity of male wild turkeys, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.573n5tb9k

Abstract

Gobbling activity of Eastern wild turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo silvestris; hereafter, turkeys) has been widely studied, focusing on drivers of daily variation. Weather variables are widely believed to influence gobbling activity, but results across studies are contradictory and often equivocal, leading to uncertainty in the relative contribution of weather variables to daily fluctuations in gobbling activity. Previous works relied on road-based auditory surveys to collect gobbling data which limits data consistency, duration, and quantity due to logistical difficulties associated with human observers and restricted sampling frames. Development of new methods using autonomous recording units (ARUs) allows researchers to collect continuous data in more locations for longer periods of time, providing the opportunity to delve into factors influencing daily gobbling activity. We used ARUs from 1 March to 31 May to detail gobbling activity across multiple study sites in the southeastern United States during 2014 – 2018. We used state-space modeling to investigate the effects of weather variables on daily gobbling activity. Our findings suggest rainfall, greater wind speeds, and greater temperatures negatively affected gobbling activity, whereas increasing barometric pressure positively affected gobbling activity. Therefore, when using daily gobbling activity to make inferences relative to gobbling chronology, reproductive phenology, and hunting season frameworks stakeholders should recognize and consider the potential influences of extended periods of inclement weather. 

Methods

Gobbling data was collected using Autonomous Recording Units and processed using a Convolutional Neural Network. We collected weather data for SRS and CWMA from 2 weather stations located on SRS maintained by the U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service. We used the most centrally located weather station on SRS to describe weather metrics associated with gobbling activity onsite. The second weather station was on the southern border of SRS, approximately 10.5 km from the center of CWMA, and was used for gobbling evaluation on CWMA. For the Webb WMA Complex, CCWMA, and BFG, we collected weather metrics from the closest National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather station. The closest weather station to the Webb WMA Complex was located in Varnville, SC (35 km), whereas the closest station to CCWMA (25 km) and BFG (35 km) was near Eatonton, GA.

Usage Notes

Here is a simple breakdown of the file included: It is a CSV containing counts of gobbles, the number of units (ARUs recording), whether rain occurred (precipitation), mean wind, temperature, humidity, dew point, and barometric pressure per day on each site.

Funding

Georgia Department Of Natural Resources

South Carolina Department of Natural Resources

U.S. Department of Energy

U.S. Forest Service