A Behavioral Analysis of the Factors Involved in Formation and Maintenance of a Social Dominance System in a Flock of Wild Turkeys
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The social dominance system of a 25-member flock of wild turkeys was observed during the mating season at the Kellogg Bird Sanctuary in Hickory Corners, Michigan. The purpose of the study was to determine those factors involved in the acquisition of social dominance. Aggressive interactions(chasing and supplanting activity), courtship display activity, mating activity, and male-male associations were found to-be pertinent 'to formation and maintenance of this social system. Underlying strategies behind social dominance were considered, including the reproductive and survival value of having such a system. The potentiality of kin selection playing a part in the turkey social dominance system was investigated in order to determine the plausibility and value behind this selection strategy. Several manipulatory actions were taken, including the removal of specific males and the construction of a model of a receptive female turkey, in order to obtain a better grasp of the whole wild turkey social dominance scenario.