Abstract

Manuscript No. 1 Recent research has indicated that low nest success and juvenile survival of Greater Sage-Grouse may be responsible for population declines. Recent technological advances in micro-transmitters have made radio-telemetry studies on Sage-Grouse chicks more common. Radio-telemetry enables monitoring of individual chicks and broods during a critical period of their life history. The exact cause of low chick recruitment in Strawberry Valley has not been well understood. In 2006, a chick mortality study using micro-transmitters was initiated to (1) determine the causes of chick mortality, (2) calculate overall chick survival, (3) compare chick survival in the Strawberry Valley population to published reports, (4) monitor brood movements, and (5) suggest management strategies for mitigation of chick mortality. Survival data on radio-marked chicks were analyzed using a known fate model in program MARK. Chick survival in Strawberry Valley was greater than all reported estimates from other studies. Our study did not identify any unsuspected causes of chick mortality, and the cumulative effect of stressing chicks, hens, and broods was not deemed worth the benefit, especially in a population recovery setting like Strawberry Valley. We do not recommend the use of radio-telemetry on Sage-Grouse chicks in recovering or sensitive populations. Manuscript No. 2 In 2003, we began translocating Greater Sage-Grouse into the Strawberry Valley of central Utah, in an attempt to recover the dwindling population found therein. Prior to 2006 all translocated Sage-Grouse were released within 250 m of the only active lek in Strawberry Valley while males were actively strutting. A prolonged winter in 2006 delayed normal lekking activity in Strawberry Valley. As a result 61 (59%) of the 103 sage-grouse translocated in 2006 were not released near an active lek. We analyzed the influence that release timing, hen age, body mass, and source population had on mortality, flocking, and dispersal distance of translocated hens in 2006. We found that mortality and flocking rates were not influenced by release timing, hen age, body mass, or source population. Dispersal distances for hens released near a lek with actively strutting males were significantly less than distances of hens released near an inactive lek. We believe that releasing translocated Sage-Grouse near a lek with actively strutting males is an essential technique for Greater Sage-Grouse translocations. We recommend that other Sage-Grouse translocation efforts employ this method to increase the likelihood of success.

Degree

MS

College and Department

Life Sciences; Plant and Wildlife Sciences

Rights

http://lib.byu.edu/about/copyright/

Date Submitted

2007-03-19

Document Type

Thesis

Handle

http://hdl.lib.byu.edu/1877/etd1754

Keywords

Greater Sage-Grouse, suture, radio-telemetry, program MARK, Strawberry Valley, translocate, release methods, lek

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