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Winter ecology of the greater prairie chicken on the Sheyenne National Grasslands, North DakotaAuthor(s): John E. Toepfer; Robert L. Eng
Source: In: Bjugstad, Ardell J., tech. coord. Prairie chickens on the Sheyenne National Grasslands: September 18, 1987; Crookston, Minnesota. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-159. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station: 32-48
Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)
Station: Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station
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DescriptionTwenty radio-tagged prairie-chickens (6 cocks, 14 hens) were followed during the winter of 1984-85 on the Sheyenne National Grasslands in North Dakota. A total of 3,945 (2,879 day and 1,066 night) locations were obtained from 9 December to 15 March. Winter survival was high at 58.8%. Mean winter home range was 8.4 km2 and slightly larger for hens than cocks (8.8 km2 size vs 7.7 km2). Mean winter to spring movements were 4.4 km for cocks and 6.4 km for hens. All locations were within 6700 m of a known booming ground; 64% were within 2400 m with a mean of 2078 + 980 m. Cocks remained closer to boomimg grounds than hens (Mean = 1797 + 709 vs 2327 + 1178 m). Mean movements from day areas to night roosts were 1085 + 778 and were greater for cocks than hens (1358 vs 1035 m). Mean within day movements were less at 992 m for cocks and 899 for hens. When possible, radioed birds did not use the same roosting area on successive nights as the mean distance between successive night locations was 922 m. Agriculture and grass made up 71.3% of all the winter habitat types used by radioed birds (Agriculture 41.7%, Grass 29.6%). Picked corn made up 70.8% of the agricultural use. Habitat used at night was dramatically different from that used during the day; 66.7% of the night locations were in grassland habitat and 11.8% in shrubs, primarily snowberry. Lowland grass and sedges accounted for 64% of the night use. A breakdown by vegetation height classes showed that 78% of all locations were associated with 9 cm or taller vegetation; 59% with 25-50 cm cover. Over 75% of the night use was in 25 cm or greater vegetation and 77.9% in cover undisturbed within the past 8 months. Within these undisturbed areas night roosting prairie-chickens selected the taller available cover.
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CitationToepfer, John E.; Eng, Robert L. 1988. Winter ecology of the greater prairie chicken on the Sheyenne National Grasslands, North Dakota. In: Bjugstad, Ardell J., tech. coord. Prairie chickens on the Sheyenne National Grasslands: September 18, 1987; Crookston, Minnesota. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-159. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station: 32-48
KeywordsTympanuchus cupido pinnatus, prairie chickens, winter, Sheyenne National Grasslands, North Dakota
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