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The Monroe County Reporter
Forsyth, Georgia
May 1, 2019     The Monroe County Reporter
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May 1, 2019

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Page 2B May I, 2019 e RepOrter MONROE OUTDOORS by Terry W. Johnson i The wild turkey is one of a group of birds biologists refer to as ground nesters. As the name im- plies, it lays its eggs on the ground as opposed to in a tree, shrub, or other spot above ground. ais makes wild turkey nests vulnerable to a wide range of animals. Locally, the list of potential turkey nest predators includes the American crow, striped skunk, opossum, raccoon, free-ranging dogs, coyotes, foxes, arma- dillo, and even feral hogs. For decades, when a wild turkey nest was found to be destroyed by a preda- tor it was often difficult to determine with absolute certainty which animal was the culprit. However, the development of small motion sensitive cameras has enabled biologists to quickly and accurately identify turkey nest preda- tors. In a study conducted in Texas, researchers used this modern technology to monitor artificial wild turkey nests. During the study, predators destroyed 61 percent of the nests under surveillance. The images retrieved from these cameras disclosed the American crow and rac- coon were the two animals responsible for the majority of the predation. Raccoons destroyed 35 percent of the nests preyed upon by all TERRY W. predators. In comparison, American crows pilfered 48 percent of the nests. The researchers also learned nest predation was greater in summer than spring. This spike was largely due to an increase in raccoon and opossum predation. In another study car- ried out in the Lone Star State, biologists also used ar- tificial wild turkey nests. Since turkey JORN$ON hens lay, on an average, one egg a day during a 12- day egg-laying period, the researchers deposited one egg per day in each nest for 12 days. During this time and for three additional by nest preda- tors. However, the research- ers found the American crow was the most significant nest predator. Closer to home the re- sults of a study conducted by Clemson Uni- versity at the Savannah River Plant have shed more light on this topic. In the first year of the study, the biologists found eggs hatched in 77 percent of the nests on the hens' first nest- The nests of wild turkey hens are pillaged by American crows and raccoons, ing attempts, especially, but also by striped skunk, opossum, free-ranging dogs, coyotes, foxes, Inaddition, armadillo and feral hogs. (Photo/Terry Johnson) days they monitored thetwo hens that 50 percent. Texas Parks hardwoods stand a greater nests with motioned acti= lost their eggs during their and Wildlife biologists chance of failure than in rated cameras, first nesting succeeded in report somewhat less than those areas possessing Remarkably, by the end hatching young on their half of wild turkey nesting more ground cover. This of the 15-day period 20 second nesting try of the attempts are successful, is obvious to anyone that (90.9 percent) of the 22 season. In comparison,In comparison, Georgiawalks through a mature nests were visited by nest during two other yearswildlife biologists estimate hardwood forest. One of predators. The cameras nesting was not anywhere predator-related nest losses the first things you notice revealed predators raided near as successful. In 1999, here can run as high as 30 as you stroll through such some nests on more than 14 of the 15 nests moni- percent, woodlands is the dense tree one occasion, tored were lost to preda- The nesting spot chosen canopy intercepts a huge This study documented tors. This was followed in by a hen also has a great amount of light. As such, the impact feral hogs can 2000 with only one hen out impact on her chances plants growing beneath this have on ground nesting of 16 nesting hens able to of successfully hatching umbrella of leaves are far birds such as wild turkeys, hatch young, a brood of poults. Wild and few between, and tend In this study, these intro- As you can see, nesting turkeys nest in a wideto be spindly. Consequent- duced mammals found and success can vary tremen- variety of locations such ly, suitable wild turkey nest- destroyed eggs placed in dously from year to year as clearcuts, thickets, and ing sites are often scarce. 25 percent of the artificial and between locations. It fields. Turkeys will also nest This problem can be rem- nests. Nine-banded arma- is also true it differs from in woodlands, edied by conducting a light dillos and American crows state to state. In the state of As a rule, wild turkeythinning of these wood- also contributed to the high Alabama wild turkey nest- nests situated in mature lands. This allows more number of nests visited ing success averages about light to reach the forest floor, which, in turn stimulates the growth of more ground cover. This vegetation provides turkeys with better nesting habitat. Open pine forests that have been man- aged using prescribed fire can offer great nesting sites. How- ever, if pines are not thinned and treated with good fire, they are often avoided by nesting turkeys. The fact Georgia's wild turkey population has flourished in the face of habitat change and the threat posed by nest predators is truly remarkable. It is a tribute to the hens' ability to conceal their nests as well as the quality and abundance of the state's wild tur- key nesting habitat. If you are interested in better managing your property for wild tur- keys, contact the Wildlife Resources Division's Game Management Section in Fort Valley. Terry Johnson is retired Program Manager of the Georgia Nongame-Endan- gered Wildlife Program. He has written the informative column 'Monroe Outdoors' for the Reporter for many years. His book, ".4 Journey to Discovery," is available at The Reporter. Email him at III I Forsyth's own Harbin En- gineering, who is working on a design for expanding the Monroe County Recre- ation Department, is asking Monroe County citizens to complete a survey let- ting the firm know what features the public would like at the new portion of the park. Harbin Engineering believes the public's par- ticipation in the survey is critical in determining the park's future direction and goals. All public input will be compiled, published and discussed in a public hear- ing prior to completion of a master plan. The survey should take no more than five minutes to complete. Survey questions pertain to recreation park access, parking, facilities, demo- graphic information and financial sources for the expansion. Persons wishing to com- plete the survey can do so at https://www.surveymon- Mary Persons senior center back Sidney Briner helped the Lady Dogs limit Baldwin to a single goal in a 4-1 home victory in the first round of the AAAA state playoffs on Thursday. (Photo/Will Davis) By Will Davis The Mary Persons girls soc- cer team beat Baldwin 4-1 on Thursday in Round I of the state playoffs. But the Bulldogs will face a much tougher foe in Round 2 when they travel to 18-1 Columbus, which is ranked third in Class AAAA. "We're definitely the under- dogs" said MP coach Dallas Hall. "It's gonna be a tough. game but we'll be playing de- fensively and maybe we'll shock everyone:' Hall said to have a chance they'll have to play better than they did in the 4-1 win at Lan- caster Field on Thursday. The Lady Dogs did get on the board first when junior striker Abbie Davis beat the defense. But Baldwin, whose record is listed on-line as 3-6, got the equalizer on a long free kick that sailed over the head of keeper Maggie Sanders to make it 1-1. Davis later scored her second goal to regain the lead for the season Lady Dogs. Then sophomore defender Mara Emami took a turn at striker and scored her first varsity goal to make it 3-1. Davis added a third goal to get her fifth hat trick of the year and extend her career scoring record to 72 goals and seal the 4-1 win. Freshman wing Abby Wil- liamson led MP with three assists and senior midfielder Annie Giles had another as MP improved to 15-3 on the season. But Hall wasn't happy. "I thought it would be a mercy rule game (10 goal margin)" said Hall. "We didn't play very well. We kept the ball and had possession 85 percent of the time but didn't excel. But a win is a win." Hall said he's watched film of the Columbus girls and said they're very athletic and very good. Of their 19 opponents, Columbus has mercy-ruled eight of them. Hall said they'll try to pack in the defense and close down scoring lanes and try to keep it dose. + MP BASEBALL two each. Much of MP'S more runs in the top of the ofthe fifth on a tower- Continued from 1 B offensive success could be second on an RBI double ing leadoffsolo homer by traced however to putrid by Snow that landed just in Andrews that easily cleared defense from the Muske- front of the leftfield fence, the leftfield fence. relief as MP added three teers, who committed six scoring Willingham, and MP starter Conner Wat- more runs in the bottom errors and allowed nine on an RBI single to right by son pitched five shutout of the fourth. MP got its Bulldogs' stolen bases. Claxton that plated a slid- innings, giving up just 12th and 13th runs when Game 2 was much the ing Snow, respectively, one hit and two walks Musketeers' third baseman same story as MP scored The Bulldogs then putwhile striking out five. Zachary Kitchens failed to early and often, this time one more run on the After Watson's no-hitter backhand a ground ball of as the visiting team against scoreboard in the top of was broken up on a single the bat of Alex Kite. Currie Musketeers' left-handed the third on Bankston's RBI to start the fifth inning then drove in Claxton for starter Wyatt Carey. single between shortstop by Richmond Academy's MP's 14th and final run on One MP run crossed and third base, scoring William Barfield, the junior an RBI single to left. home plate in the top of the Howard. MP scored yet an- righty proceeded to fan the The Bulldogs had 11 total first inning when pinch- other run in the top of the final three hitters he faced hits in the Game 1 win runner Soule scored on a fourth when Snow scored to secure an easy win. with Moore, Andrews and throwing error by Kitch- from third on a wild pitch MP then broke the game Willingham accounting for ens. MP then added two and made it 6-0 in the top completely open with a five-run top of the sixth. Kite singled in Snow to make it 7-0. Moore then tripled into the right- centerfield gap, scoring Claxton and Kite to extend MP'S lead to 9-0. Howard drove in Moore on a single to right-center for a 10-0 advantage. Finally, MP concluded the scoring on an RBI single by Bankston, and Kite pitched a scoreless bottom of the sixth to wrap upan 11-0 win. All nine batters in the MP lineup had at least one base hit in Game 2 as the Bulldogs pounded out 15 hits in all. Snow, Claxton, Kite, Moore, Howard and Andrews all had multi-hit games. Mathis said all-in-all he was satisfied with MP's first-round performance. "We scored every inning. They didn't score at all. We got to throw five different guys. I think our pitch- ers didn't have their best stuff, but I think we played well behind them. And I think our pitchers battled even though they didn't have their best stuff We showed up and did every- thing we needed to do."