Great Basin Naturalist


We qualified nest site characteristics, breeding densities, and migratory chronology of Long-billed Curlews at the Great Salt Lake, Utah. The species is apparently declining in Utah, and little is known about their breeding in the eastern Great Basin Desert. This study was designed to provide wildlife biologist with the baseline data useful for their successful management. Curlews arrived in northern Utah in late March and generally departed by mid-August. Nest densities at Great Salt Lake ranged from 0.64 to 2.36 males/km2. The habitat at curlew nest sites consisted of significantly shorter vegetation than nearby random locations ( = 5.7 versus 9.0 cm, respectively; P < .01). Nests tended to be located in small patches of vegetation near barren ground. Maintenance of relatively short vegetation appears to be important in managing curlew habitat. In addition, only 2 of 10 nests we monitored in 1992 were successful, with most lost to mammalian predators. Further research is needed to determine impact of mammalian predators on curlew populations.