Great Basin Naturalist


Cover types and vegetative characteristics (e.g., grasses, forbs, shrubs) used by female Sage Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) during summer were compared with available habitat on two study areas in southeastern Oregon. Broodless hens, which constituted 114 of the 125 (91%) radio-marked hens studied, selected big (Artemisia tridentata subspp.) and low sagebrush (A. arbuscular) cover types at both study areas. At Hart Mountain, broodless hens did not select specific vegetative characteristics within cover types. However, at Jackass Creek, forb cover was greater (P = .004) at broodless hen sites than at random locations. Differences in habitat use by broodless hens between study areas were associated with differences in forb availability. Broodless hens used a greater diversity of cover types than hens with broods. Broodless hens gathered in flocks and remained separate from but near hens with broods during early summer. By early July broodless hens moved to meadows while hens with broods remained in upland habitats.