Sage-Grouse Nesting and Brood Habitat Use in Southern Canada

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2002
Authors:Aldridge, CL, R. Brigham, M
Journal:The Journal of Wildlife Management
Volume:66
Issue:2
Date Published:2002
ISBN Number:0022541X
Keywords:Centrocercus, Centrocercus urophasianus, Phasianidae
Abstract:Greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) populations have declined from 66 to 92% during the last 30 years in Canada, where they are listed as endangered. We used radiotelemetry to examine greater sage-grouse nest and brood habitat use in Alberta and assess the relationship between habitat and the population decline. We also identified the patch size at which sage-grouse were selecting nest and brood-rearing sites. Nest areas were in silver sagebrush (Artemisia cana) stands that had greater amounts of tall cover (P ≤ 0.001) at a patch size of 7.5 to 15 m in radius. Within those sagebrush stands, nests were located beneath the densest sagebrush present. Areas used for brood rearing had greater amounts of taller sagebrush cover in an area ≥15 m in radius than at random locations. Brood locations were not selected based on forb content; mesic areas containing forbs (20-40% cover) as a food resource for chicks were limiting (only 12% cover available). Overall cover of sagebrush is considerably lower in Canada (5-11%) compared with sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) cover in other areas throughout the range of greater sage-grouse (15-25%). If management goals are to provide suitable nesting and brood-rearing habitat, efforts should be directed toward protecting and enhancing sagebrush stands ≥30 m2 and increasing overall sagebrush cover. Management strategies also should focus on increasing the availability of mesic sites and increasing the abundance of sites with >10% forb cover, to enhance brood rearing habitat.
URL:http://www.jstor.org/stable/3803176
Short Title:The Journal of Wildlife Management
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Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith