Nest predation is the primary cause of nest failure for Greater Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus), but the identity of their nest predators is often uncertain. Confirming the identity of these predators may be useful in enhancing management strategies designed to increase nest success. From 2002 to 2005, we monitored 87 Greater Sage-Grouse nests (camera, N = 55; no camera, N = 32) in northeastern Nevada and south-central Idaho and identified predators at 17 nests, with Common Ravens (Corvus corax) preying on eggs at 10 nests and American badgers (Taxidea taxis) at seven. Rodents were frequently observed at grouse nests, but did not prey on grouse eggs. Because sign left by ravens and badgers was often indistinguishable following nest predation, identifying nest predators based on egg removal, the presence of egg shells, or other sign was not possible. Most predation occurred when females were on nests. Active nest defense by grouse was rare and always unsuccessful. Continuous video monitoring of Sage-Grouse nests permitted unambiguous identification of nest predators. Additional monitoring studies could help improve our understanding of the causes of Sage-Grouse nest failure in the face of land-use changes in the Intermountain West. ?? 2008 Association of Field Ornithologists.
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Predators of Greater Sage-Grouse nests identified by video monitoring