Nonbreeding home‐range size and survival of lesser prairie‐chickens

Journal of Wildlife Management
By: , and 

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Abstract

The lesser prairie‐chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus), a species of conservation concern with uncertain regulatory status, has experienced population declines over the past century. Most research on lesser prairie‐chickens has focused on the breeding season, with little research conducted during the nonbreeding season, a period that exerts a strong influence on demography in other upland game birds. We trapped lesser prairie‐chickens on leks and marked them with either global positioning system (GPS) satellite or very high frequency (VHF) transmitters to estimate survival and home‐range size during the nonbreeding season. We monitored 119 marked lesser prairie‐chickens in 3 study areas in Kansas, USA, from 16 September to 14 March in 2013, 2014, and 2015. We estimated home‐range size using Brownian Bridge movement models (GPS transmitters) and fixed kernel density estimators (VHF transmitters), and female survival using Kaplan–Meier known‐fate models. Average home‐range size did not differ between sexes. Estimated home‐range size was 3 times greater for individuals fitted with GPS satellite transmitters (urn:x-wiley:14381656:media:jwmg21390:jwmg21390-math-0005 = 997 ha) than those with VHF transmitters (urn:x-wiley:14381656:media:jwmg21390:jwmg21390-math-0006 = 286 ha), likely a result of the temporal resolution of the different transmitters. Home‐range size of GPS‐marked birds increased 2.8 times relative to the breeding season and varied by study area and year. Home‐range size was smaller in the 2013–2014 nonbreeding season (urn:x-wiley:14381656:media:jwmg21390:jwmg21390-math-0007 = 495 ha) than the following 2 nonbreeding seasons (urn:x-wiley:14381656:media:jwmg21390:jwmg21390-math-0008 = 1,290 ha and urn:x-wiley:14381656:media:jwmg21390:jwmg21390-math-0009 = 1,158 ha), corresponding with drought conditions of 2013, which were alleviated in following years. Female survival (urn:x-wiley:14381656:media:jwmg21390:jwmg21390-math-0010) was high relative to breeding season estimates, and did not differ by study area or year (urn:x-wiley:14381656:media:jwmg21390:jwmg21390-math-0011 = 0.73 ± 0.04 [SE]). Future management could remain focused on the breeding season because nonbreeding survival was 39–44% greater than the previous breeding season; however, considerations of total space needs would benefit lesser prairie‐chickens by accounting for the greater spatial requirements during the nonbreeding season. 

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Nonbreeding home‐range size and survival of lesser prairie‐chickens
Series title Journal of Wildlife Management
DOI 10.1002/jwmg.21390
Volume 82
Issue 2
Year Published 2018
Language English
Publisher Wiley
Contributing office(s) Coop Res Unit Seattle
Description 11 p.
First page 413
Last page 423
Country United States
State Kansas
County Clark County, Comanche County, Gove County, Kiowa County, Logan County