Obtaining timely and accurate assessment of sage-grouse (Centrocercus spp.) chick survival and recruitment is an important component of species management and conservation. We compared the effectiveness of walking, spotlight, and pointing-dog surveys to detect radio-marked and unmarked chicks within broods of radio-marked hens in Utah. Walking surveys detected 72% of marked chicks, while spotlight and pointing-dog surveys detected 100% and 96%, respectively. We found no difference between spotlight and pointing-dog counts in number of marked and unmarked chicks detected (P = 0.57). Spotlight counts were slightly more time efficient than pointing-dog surveys. However, spotlight surveys were nocturnal searches and perceived to be more technically arduous than diurnal pointing-dog surveys. Pointing-dog surveys may offer greater utility in terms of area searched per unit effort and an increased ability to detect unmarked hens and broods.
Dahlgren, David K.; Messmer, Terry A.; Thacker, Eric T.; and Guttery, Michael R.
"Evaluation of brood detection techniques: recommendations for estimating Greater Sage-Grouse productivity,"
Western North American Naturalist: Vol. 70
, Article 10.
Available at: http://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/wnan/vol70/iss2/10