To characterize western sage grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus phaios Bonaparte) nesting habitat in sagebrush-steppe habitat in Washington, we initiated a study on the Yakima Training Center to determine nesting habitat characteristics and whether these characteristics differed between successful and depredated nests. Most nests (71%) were in big sagebrush (Artemesia tridentata Nutt.)/bunchgrass communities. Nest habitat was characterized by greater shrub cover, shrub height, vertical cover height, residual cover, and litter than at random locations. Successful 1-m2 nest sites within big sagebrush/bunchgrass in 1992 had less shrub cover (51%) and shrub height (64 cm) than depredated nest sites (70% and 90 cm, respectively). Successful 77-m2 nest areas in big sagebrush/bunchgrass in 1993 had more tall grass (??? 18 cm) than depredated nest areas. Management that protects the big sagebrush/bunchgrass community is essential for maintaining nesting habitat for sage grouse.
Additional Publication Details
Nesting habitat selection by sage grouse in southcentral Washington