State Wildlife Grant - T-30-R

Project Title

Breeding Ecology of Ferruginous and Swainson’s Hawks in Relation to Energy Extraction Activities in Western North Dakota

Target Species

Ferruginous and Swainson’s Hawks

Timeline

April 2011 - Dec. 2012

Investigators

Dr. David Wiggins and Dr. Gary Schnell, University of Oklahoma

Description

Populations of a number of species of raptors have declined on the northern Great Plains in recent decades. The recent rapid expansion of energy extraction activities in western ND has occurred with little understanding of the effects of such activities on wildlife species of conservation concern. Given the sensitivity of some wildlife species to disturbance, studies on the effects of energy extraction activities on wildlife populations are clearly needed. Potential effects could include reduced nest densities in areas with intensive oil exploration activity, as well as reduced reproductive success due to (indirect, e.g., vehicle traffic) human disturbance. The results of the project are expected to provide clear habitat management guidelines (with respect to energy extraction activities) for maintaining/improving reproductive success for 2 North Dakota Species of Conservation Priority, Ferruginous Hawk and Swainson’s Hawk.