Direct Identification of Northern Sage-grouse, Centrocercus urophasianus, Nest Predators Using Remote Sensing Cameras
Keywords:Centrocercus urophasianus, Sage-grouse, Cervus canadensis, American Elk, ground squirrel, predator
AbstractThe status and apparent decline of Sage-grouse (Centrocercus spp.) has been of increasing concern and lower nesting success could be contributing to population declines. Our objective was to directly identify Sage-grouse nest predators. Following visual confirmation of radio-marked Sage-grouse nest establishment in 1997-1999, we installed automatic 35 mm cameras controlled by an active infrared monitor. Of 26 nests monitored by cameras, 22 successfully hatched and four were unsuccessful. American Elk (Cervus canadensis), Badger (Taxidea taxus), and Black-billed Magpie (Pica hudsonia) destroyed three of the four unsuccessful nests, and domestic cattle caused abandonment of the fourth. Richardson’s (Spermophilus richardsonii) and Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrels (S. tridecemlineatus) were recorded at nests, but were not detected in predation.
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