BRANTA — Katie M. Herman-Brunson
Nesting and brood-rearing habitat selection of Greater Sage-grouse and associated survival of hens and broods at the edge of their historic distribution
Institution: South Dakota State University, U.S.A.
Supervisors: KC Jensen
Details: M. Sc. 2007 (Completed)
Address: P. O. Box 1041, Gillette, WY 82717 (Jun 2007) Email
Subject Keywords: habitat selection, reproductive success, survival, brood-rearing
Species Keywords: Greater Sage-grouse Centrocercus urophasianus
Thesis Online here
Greater sage-grouse Centrocercus urophasianus populations are declining throughout their historical distribution which can be attributed mostly to habitat loss and degradation. The main objectives of this study were to estimate nest success and brood survival along with characterizing nesting and brood-rearing habits associated with sage-grouse in southwestern North Dakota. Sage-grouse selected nest-sites with more vegetative cover and sagebrush density focused around 1-m of the nest-site than randomly selected sites. Brood sites were characterized with more total forbs, total grass, and total shrubs than was present at randomly selected sites. Overall nest success for 2005 and 2006 was 31%, with losses attributed to depredation and abandonment. Hen survival ranged from 60% in 2006 to 84% in 2005. Chick recruitment was poor with 17% of the chicks recruiting into the population as of 2005, and 13% in 2006. Loss of habitat through the development of oil and gas, and increased agriculture are causing habitat fragmentation, leading to low productivity of sage-grouse and an unpredictable future for sage-grouse.