Skip to Main Navigation. Each navigation link will open a list of sub navigation links.

Skip to Main Content

Apply to the University of Wyoming apply now

Global Resource Navigation

Visit Campus
Download UW Viewbook
Give to UW
Oprimizing Landscape Management for Multiple Bird Guilds
Menu
Contact Us

Dr. Jeffrey L Beck

Dept of Ecosystem Science and Management

Agriculture Building 2005

Department #3354

1000 E. University Ave

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: (307) 766-6683

Fax: (307) 766-6403

Email: jlbeck@uwyo.edu

Dr. Jeffrey L. Beck

Ecosystem Science and Management


Daily and Seasonal Space Use and Habitat Selection of Greater Sage-Grouse in Carbon County, Montana

Master’s Student: Erin Birtwistle
Postdoctoral Research Associate: Aaron Pratt, PhD

Female sage-grouse with four chicksFemale sage-grouse with 4 chicks in July
Adult female sage-grouse in grass and snowFemale sage-grouse in November

 
Managing greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) populations and habitat is difficult due to their diverse seasonal movements, potentially accessing different habitats and areas during breeding, summer, and winter seasons (Connelly et al. 2011). To best manage habitat for sage-grouse, all three seasonal habitat needs should be considered. During breeding season, females utilize areas beyond their nest for incubation recesses and these areas further define nesting habitat more than simply the nest site itself (Dudko et al. 2018). Also during breeding season, different reproductive states lead to broodless (i.e., females without a brood) and brood-rearing females utilizing different habitats such that broodless females have lower survival risk than females with chicks (Smith et al. 2018). In addition, Taylor et al. (2012) argues to sustain sage-grouse populations, focus should be on increasing vital rates that most appropriately influence population growth. Because sage-grouse are relatively long-lived birds, survival of adult females may be as important as reproduction in maintaining populations (Taylor et al. 2012; Dahlgren et al. 2016). Therefore, due to habitat partitioning and different mortality risk between broodless and brood-rearing sage-grouse females, both reproductive states should be considered when identifying areas and habitats for management or conservation (Smith et al. 2018).

Our study was initiated in spring 2018 through funding support by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to study the sage-grouse population within Carbon County, Montana. This area encompasses the northernmost portion of Sage-Grouse Management Zone II as delineated by the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. Utilizing transmitters with a high frequency of location fixes, we will monitor at least 30 female sage-grouse during the nesting and brood-rearing season in 2018-2019 to acquire precise daily movements and habitats used by nesting, brood-rearing, and broodless females. Our study aims to guide the BLM and other agencies in identifying priority habitat for which to focus management by addressing female sage-grouse needs across daily, seasonal, and reproductive states. Our study is guided by these three objectives:

  1. Identify priority areas of use during breeding, summer, and winter seasons for sage-grouse within Carbon County, Montana and which anthropogenic and natural landscape features influence habitat selection during each season.
  2. Examine nest attentiveness and microhabitat used during incubation recesses of nesting females to better define space use and habitat during nesting.
  3. Compare microhabitat selected by brood-rearing and broodless females, focusing on night roosts, day roosts, and actively-used day locations to better define daily habitat used during breeding season.


Literature Cited
Connelly, J. W., C. A. Hagen, and M. A. Schroeder. 2011. Characteristics and Dynamics of Greater Sage-Grouse Populations. Pages 53–67 in S. T. Knick and J. W. Connelly, editors. Greater Sage-Grouse: Ecology and Conservation of a Landscape Species and Its Habitats. Studies in Avian Biology. Volume 38. University of California Press, Berkeley, CA.

Dahlgren, D. K., M. R. Guttery, T. A. Messmer, D. Caudill, R. D. Elmore, R. Chi, and D. N. Koons. 2016. Evaluating vital rate contributions to greater sage-grouse population dynamics to inform conservation. Ecosphere 7:e01249

Dudko, J. E., P. S. Coates, and D. J. Delehanty. 2018. Movements of female sage grouse Centrocercus urophasianus during incubation recess. Ibis. Early view. doi: 10.1111/ibi.12670.

Smith, K. T., J. L. Beck, and C. P. Kirol. 2018. Reproductive state leads to intraspecific habitat partitioning and survival differences in greater sage-grouse: Implications for conservation. Wildlife Research 45:119–131.

Taylor, R. L., B. L. Walker, D. E. Naugle, and L. S. Mills. 2012. Managing multiple vital rates to maximize greater sage-grouse population growth. Journal of Wildlife Management 76:336–347.

Nest recess movements for one female for 9 days during incubation, 2018.
Nest recess movements for one female for 9 days during incubation, 2018.

 

Examples of brood-rearing and broodless female movements during early to late brood-rearing, 2018.
Examples of brood-rearing and broodless female movements during early to late brood-rearing, 2018.

Contact Us

Dr. Jeffrey L Beck

Dept of Ecosystem Science and Management

Agriculture Building 2005

Department #3354

1000 E. University Ave

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: (307) 766-6683

Fax: (307) 766-6403

Email: jlbeck@uwyo.edu

1000 E. University Ave. Laramie, WY 82071
UW Operators (307) 766-1121 | Contact Us | Download Adobe Reader

Accreditation | Virtual Tour | Emergency Preparedness | Employment at UW | Gainful Employment | Privacy Policy | Harassment & Discrimination | Accessibility Accessibility information icon