|Category||Wildlife Biology/Damage Management|
|Project||50-09 - Turkey vulture nest selection criteria|
|Affiliation||UC Cooperative Extension Mendocino County|
Long-term quantitative life history studies in different parts of the breeding range are needed to evaluate the factors affecting the status and health of Turkey Vulture populations (Kirk and others 1998). Limited information exists for western populations except in generalized format such as “typically roosts in large trees—e.g., cottonwood (Populus deltoides) – or - on rock outcrops (Davis 1983a, Thomaides and Reid 1984) and on saguaro cactus (Carnegiea gigantea) in southern Arizona (Bennett and Kunzmann 1994).
I am proposing a survey of HREC oak woodlands to identify, catalog, analyze and characterize existing Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) roost and nest trees. Data collection will include:1) tree characteristics (species, dbh, height); 2) nest characteristics (cavity volume, entrance dimensions, cavity height, tree structure characteristics); 3) site characteristics (slope, aspect, elevation); and if possible, 4) regurgitated pellet collection. The survey will include a property-wide transects/assessment of existing trees that meet the physical parameters of currently occupied nest trees to better understand the availability of suitable nest sites. The paucity of information regarding tree selection by these large cavity nesters in California’s oak woodlands puts this ubiquitous species at risk of loosing suitable nesting habitat through benign neglect and lack of instructional information for resource managers and planners who have the jurisdiction to protect habitats.