Nest site selection by greater sage-grouse in Mono County, California

Journal of Wildlife Management
By: , and 

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Abstract

Loss of nesting habitat is believed to be a factor in the decline of greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) throughout its range. Few data are available for sage-grouse in Mono County, California, USA, in the most southwestern portion of the species' range. We studied habitat selection of nesting sage-grouse in Mono County, California, from 2003 to 2005 by capturing and radiotracking females to identify nesting locations. We sampled vegetation at nest sites and randomly selected sites within 200 m of nests and within each of 5 subareas within Mono County. Nest sites were characterized by 42.4 ± 1.3% (x ¯ ± SE) shrub canopy cover, 10.5 ± 1.0 cm residual grass height, and 2.7 ± 1.0% residual grass cover. Shrub cover was the only variable found to differentiate nest sites from randomly selected sites. Unlike some other studies, we did not find understory vegetation to be important for selecting nest sites. Mean shrub cover was 38.7 ± 1.5% at random sites within 200 m of nests and 33.6 ± 1.6% at random sites at the approximate scale of home ranges, indicating that nesting females selected nesting areas that contained denser shrubs than their home range, and nest sites that contained greater shrub cover than the vicinity immediately surrounding nests. Our results suggest that managers should consider managing for greater shrub cover in Mono County than what is currently called for in other parts of sage-grouse range and that management for sage-grouse habitat may need to be tied more closely to local conditions.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Nest site selection by greater sage-grouse in Mono County, California
Series title Journal of Wildlife Management
DOI 10.2193/2008-338
Volume 73
Issue 8
Year Published 2009
Language English
Publisher The Wildlife Society
Contributing office(s) Western Ecological Research Center
Description 8 p.
First page 1333
Last page 1340
Country United States
State California
County Mono County