Nesting and Brood-rearing Habitat Selection of Greater Sage-grouse and associated survival of Hens and Broods at the Edge of Their Historic Distribution
The objectives of this study were to (1) determine and quantify nesting and brood-rearing habitat selection of radio marked sage-grouse in North Dakota; (2) estimate survival of radio-marked female sage-grouse in southwestern North Dakota and (3) investigate and determine specific causes for observed sage-grouse mortalities. Other objectives were to (4) estimate nest success of radio-marked female sage-grouse in North Dakota, (5) evaluate the cause and timing of nest failures (e.g., abandonment, predation), (6) estimate brood survival of radio-marked female sage-grouse in southwestern North Dakota, and (7) investigate the cause(s) of brood/chick mortality. Addressing these objectives will help resource managers in the development of management recommendations to benefit state and federal wildlife and habitat management agencies that coordinate management of greater sage-grouse and their habitats. These comparisons will benefit managers by providing a measure of management success and failures for sage-grouse. This research also will aid in providing information on habitat selection, movements, and survival of sage-grouse at the eastern fringe range of existence; an area where basic reproductive ecology of the species has not been studied. Data from this study when compared to those from stable populations in the heart of sagebrush range can help elucidate ultimate factors required by sage-grouse.