We surveyed 18 habitat patches (black spruce (Picea marinana) - tamarack (Larix larcina) wetlands) for spruce grouse (Dendragapus canadensis canadensis) on Mount Desert Island, Maine, during April-May in 1992 and 1993 to determine patch occupancy relative to patch area. We also equipped nine juvenile grouse with radio transmitters to determine movement and habitat use outside of patches during autumn dispersal. The 2 large patches (77 and 269 ha), 5 of 6 medium-sized (11-26 ha) patches, and 1 of 10 small (4-8 ha) patches were occupied. Spruce grouse occupied smaller habitat patches than previously reported, and occupied patches were closer (P < 0.05) to the nearest occupied patch (x = 1.2 km) than were unoccupied patches (x = 2.5 km). Eight of nine juvenile grouse left their natal habitat patch during autumn dispersal, and net dispersal distance (x = 2.3 km) was greater than that reported for grouse in areas with more contiguous habitat. Dispersing juveniles used all major forest types and 33 % of relocations were in deciduous forest. Thus, deciduous forest was not an absolute dispersal barrier.
Additional publication details
Patch occupancy and dispersal of spruce grouse on the edge of its range in Maine