Using Maximum Entropy Modeling for Lesser Prairie Chickens in Kansas.David Dahlgren, Jim Pitman, and Matthew Bain. Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism, Hays Kansas,
David Dahlgren
Jim Pitman
Matthew Bain
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Lesser Prairie Chicken is a federal candidate species, and a state species of conservation concern within Kansas. The distribution of this species is important for conservation efforts within the state. Spring lek surveys have been conducted for multiple decades now. However, the known range in Kansas has not been equally sampled and lek routes were not all established at one time. Lek data within the state of Kansas has provided presence information, but no areas have been surveyed for absence. Maximum Entropy modeling (MaxEnt) can provide information when presence data is known, but absence data is unknown. MaxEnt provides a probability of occurrence by modeling features of known locations across a landscape. We used MaxEnt model of Lesser Prairie Chicken lekking habitat to focus our search effort on the northern extent of range in Kansas. We located multiple Lesser Prairie Chicken lek occurrences outside of the species current range. Most of these occurrences were on mixed leks with Greater Prairie Chickens. We also identified multiple leks with hybrid (Lesser X Greater Prairie Chicken) males displaying, all of which occurred on Greater Prairie Chicken or mixed leks.

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David Dahlgren, Jim Pitman, Matthew Bain --- Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism, Hays, KS, USA