Rangeland Ecology & Management

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The effect of vegetation structure on predation of artificial greater sage-grouse nests
Watters, M. E., T. L. McLash, C. L. Aldrige, R. M. Brigham
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Watters et al. examined the influence of vegetation cover and height on the fate of artificial Greater Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) nests. Richardson's ground squirrels (Spermophilus richardsonii) were the primary predators of artificial nests, with some predation by badgers (Taxidea taxus). Successful nests tended to be surrounded by shorter sagebrush, taller grasses, and taller, denser forbs than predated nests. Trimming grass around the nests did not affect nest fate. However, ground squirrels typically attacked nests with less forb cover and fewer sagebrush, and avian predators tended to destroy nests at inactive leks with greater lateral cover. These results suggest implementing management strategies that improve sagebrush habitat by providing tall, dense forbs and sagebrush, which could increase Greater Sage-Grouse nest success and recruitment.

endangered species
artificial nests
Centrocercus urophasianus
greater sage-grouse
vegetation cover
vegetation structure
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