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Black-footed ferrets (Mustela nigripes) excavate subsoil from black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) burrows and deposit it in unique piles. Black-tailed prairie dogs tend to fill in or "plug" burrows visited or occupied by ferrets (Hillman 1968, Henderson et al. 1969, Fortenbery 1972). In this paper, we describe the configuration, rate of production, persistence, and seasonality of ferret diggings and rate of burrow plugging by prairie dogs within white-tailed prairie dog (C. leucurus) colonies. Published in Journal of Wildlife Management, volume 48, issue 4, on pages 1441 - 1444, in 1984.
Areas occupied by white-tailed prairie dogs (WTPD; Cynomys leucurus) and Gunnison's prairie dogs (GPD; C. gunnisoni) are not well-known in Colorado (USA) and elsewhere. Suitable methodology for monitoring changes in populations of WTPD and GPD over broad areas also has not been well established. We evaluated occupancy modeling methodology to establish baseline occupancy rates for WTPD and GPD in Colorado. We estimated that WTPD occupied 24.1% (SE = 12.8) of 47,710 0.25-km2 plots and GPD occupied 7.5% (SE = 1.3) of 158,225 0.25-km2 plots in Colorado during 2004 and 2005. Areas reported as colonies in the Colorado Division of Wildlife's database were not good predictors of WTPD and GPD occupancy. Occupancy rates were...
Concern over the status of species associated with prairie dog colonies has increased with the recent proposed listing of black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus). We monitored burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia) populations and prairie dog densities in 17 black-tailed prairie dog colonies in the Nebraska panhandle between 1990 and 1996. All prairie dog colonies were controlled at least once during the study. We observed a 63% decline in nesting pairs of burrowing owls and significant declines in burrow densities. Results indicated a time lag in owl response to changes in active burrow densities. However, in the later years of the study when burrow densities were lowest, owl numbers were positively correlated...
We estimated survival rates of greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) in North Park, Colorado, USA, from band-recovery data of 6,021 birds banded during spring, 1973-1990, with recoveries through 1993. Average annual adult female survival ((S) over bar = 0.59, SE = 0.011) was greater than average adult male survival ((S) over bar = 0.37, SE = 0.007), and average subadult (<1 yr old at time of banding) female survival ((S) over bar = 0.77, SE = 0.030) was greater than average subadult male survival ((S) over bar = 0.63, SE = 0.034). Four weather covariates (spring and winter precipitation and temperature) did not contribute to predicting annual survival. Published in Journal of Wildlife Management, volume...
We studied Mexican spotted owl (Strix occidentalis lucida) diets and the relative abundance and habitat associations of major prey species in a ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa)-Gambel oak (Quercus gambelii) forest in north-central Arizona, USA, from 1990 to 1993. The owl's diet was comprised of 94% mammals by biomass and consisted of primarily the deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus), brush mouse (P boylii), Mexican woodrat (Neotoma mexicana), and Mexican vole (Microtus mexicanus). Spotted owl prey in our study area were smaller on average than prey in other locations, and the total biomass of potential prey was less than that reported in other areas within the owl's geographic range. Although all prey populations...
Concern over the decline of grassland birds has spurred efforts to increase understanding of grassland bird-habitat relationships. Previous studies have suggested that black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus) provide important habitat for shortgrass prairie avifauna, such as mountain plover (Charadrius montanus) and western burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia hypugaea), although such studies are lacking in Colorado (USA). We used methods to estimate occupancy (psi) of mountain plover and burrowing owl on prairie dog colonies and other shortgrass prairie habitats in eastern Colorado. Mountain plover occupancy was higher on prairie dog colonies (psi = 0.50, 95% CI = 0.36-0.64) than on grassland (psi = 0.07,...
Some populations of western burrowing owls (Athene cunicularia hypugaea) have declined in recent decades. To design and implement effective recovery efforts, we need a better understanding of how distribution and demographic traits are influenced by habitat quality. To this end, we measured spatial patterns of burrowing owl breeding habitat selection within black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) colonies in northeastern Wyoming, USA. We compared burrow-, site-, colony-, and landscape-scale habitat parameters between burrowing owl nest burrows (n = 105) and unoccupied burrows (n = 85). We sampled 4 types of prairie dog colonies: 1) owl-occupied, active with prairie dogs (n = 16); 2) owl-occupied, inactive...
A model based on calculations of metabolizable energy requirements estimated the annual prey requirements for 1 reproductive female black-footed ferret (Mustela nigripes) and her young. Both whitetailed and black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys leucurus and C. ludovicianus) were considered as prey. Gestation, lactation, and ferret pup growth were modeled. A general regression of mustelid prey biomass requirements helped verify metabolizable energy calculations. Populations of between 474 and 1,421 blacktailed prairie dogs and between 412 and 1,236 white-tailed prairie dogs are predicted as necessary to sustain the annual predation by the female and young ferrets. Minimum ferret densities expected to occur and sizes...
Obtaining reliable estimates of absolute and relative reproductive rates is challenging for avian species whose nests are difficult to observe, such as the burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia). We compared methods for estimating reproductive rates of burrowing owls, defined as the number of 21- to 28-day-old young per Successful nest. We compared observations using (1) the mean and (2) the maximum number of young observed during 5 30-min observation periods, and (3) the maximum number of voting videotaped during 2-hr video surveillance. We evaluated the reliability of these methods with the known number of young present in nest boxes. All 3 methods performed poorly as estimators of absolute reproductive rates (absolute...
Factors influencing patterns of space use by pygmy rabbits (Brachylagus idahoensis) are poorly understood. We studied diurnal space use by adult pygmy rabbits during multiple breeding and nonbreeding seasons at 3 sites in the Lemhi Valley, Idaho, USA, during 2004–2005. Pygmy rabbits used larger areas than predicted by allometric models and documented by some previous investigations. Sex and season strongly influenced space use by rabbits. Males used larger home ranges and core areas, more burrow systems, and more widely dispersed burrow systems than did female rabbits. We also documented significant differences among study sites in many movement parameters, which suggested that local resource distribution also...
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We analyzed variation in canopy closure around 47 Mexican spotted owl (Strix occidentalis lucida) nest sires and 47 random forest sites on the Coconino National Forest in northcentral Arizona. We mapped distinct habitat polygons on 1:15,840 color aerial photographs, assigned each polygon to one of 4 canopy-closure classes (70%), and measured the area in each canopy class within 5 concentric analysis zones with radii of 0.1, 0.4, 0.8, 1.2, and 1.6 km (delineating rings of about 4, 47, 150, 252, and 352 ha). Landscape composition differed between spotted owl nest and random sites (P 70% canopy-closure class and less area in the 70% canopy predominated Nesting spotted owls selected areas with denser canopy than randomly...
Many wildlife species ingest soil while feeding, but ingestion rates are known for only a few species. Knowing ingestion rates may be important for studies of environmental contaminants. Wildlife may ingest soil deliberately, or incidentally, when they ingest soil-laden forage or animals that contain soil. We fed white-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus) diets containing 0-15% soil to relate the dietary soil content to the acid-insoluble ash content of scat collected from the mice. The relation was described by an equation that required estimates of the percent acid-insoluble ash content of the diet, digestibility of the diet, and mineral content of soil. We collected scat from 28 wildlife species by capturing animals,...
Increased raptor and corvid abundance has been documented in landscapes fragmented by man-made structures, such as fence posts and power lines. These vertical structures may enhance raptor and corvid foraging and predation efficiency because of increased availability of perch, nesting, and roosting sites. Concomitantly, vertical structures, in particular power distribution lines, have been identified as a threat to sage-grouse (Centrocercus spp.) conservation. To mitigate potential impacts of power distribution lines on sage-grouse and other avian species, the electrical power industry has retrofitted support poles with perch deterrents to discourage raptor and corvid use. No published information is available regarding...
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With the decline of many lekking species, the need to develop a rigorous population estimation technique is critical for successful conservation and management. We employed mark?resight methods to estimate population size for 2 lekking species: greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) and Gunnison sage-grouse (Centrocercus minimus). We evaluated 2 different estimators: Bowden's estimator and the mixed logit-normal mark?resight model. We captured and marked 75 greater sage-grouse. We counted marked and unmarked birds as they attended 15 known leks. We used 36 and 37 marked Gunnison sage-grouse to estimate population size in 2003 and 2004, respectively. We observed marked and unmarked Gunnison sage-grouse daily...
The southwestern willow flycatcher (SWFL; Empidonax traillii extimus) is an endangered songbird whose habitat has declined dramatically over the last century. Understanding habitat selection patterns and the ability to identify potential breeding areas for the SWFL is crucial to the management and conservation of this species. We developed a multiscaled model of SWFL breeding habitat with a Geographic Information System (GIS), survey data, GIS variables, and multiple logistic regressions. We obtained presence and absence survey data from a riverine ecosystem and a reservoir delta in south-central Arizona, USA, in 1999. We extracted the GIS variables from satellite imagery and digital elevation models to characterize...
Translocations of greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) have been attempted in 7 states and one Canadian province with very little success. To recover a small remnant population and test the efficacy of sage-grouse translocations, we captured and transported 137 adult female sage-grouse from 2 source populations to a release site in Strawberry Valley, Utah, USA, during March-April 2003-2005. The resident population of sage-grouse in Strawberry Valey was approximately 150 breeding birds prior to the release. We radiomarked each female and documented survival, movements, reproductive effort, flocking with resident grouse, and lek attendance. We used Program MARK to calculate annual survival of translocated...
Black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus) have been subjected to intense population reduction efforts over much of their range, often resulting in scattered, remnant colonies, and possibly resulting in altered genetic characteristics. Consequently, I examined the relationships between population size reductions and the amount of genetic variability in black-tailed prairie dogs at Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota, where a wide range of colony sizes and past management histories existed. Blood samples were collected from 377 prairie dogs at 8 colonies, and were analyzed using starch-gel electrophoresis. Colonies varied in size from <20 individuals, at colonies that had been through recent population bottlenecks...
Sagebrush (Artemisia spp.)-dominated habitats in the western United States have experienced extensive, rapid changes due to development of natural-gas fields, resulting in localized declines of greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) populations. It is unclear whether population declines in natural-gas fields are caused by avoidance or demographic impacts, or the age classes that are most affected. Land and wildlife management agencies need information on how energy developments affect sage-grouse populations to ensure informed land-use decisions are made, effective mitigation measures are identified, and appropriate monitoring programs are implemented (Sawyer et al. 2006). We used information from radio-equipped...
Human recreation has been implicated in the decline of several populations of desert bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis nelsoni). Managers are concerned about the impact of increased recreation on desert bighorn sheep in Canyonlands National Park (NP), Utah, USA, where visitation increased 325% from 1979 to 1994. We compared behavioral responses of sheep to recreational activity between a low visitor use area and a high visitor use area during 1993 and 1994 by observing behavioral responses, distances moved, and duration of responses to vehicles, mountain bikers, and humans on foot. Hikers caused the most severe responses in desert bighorn sheep (animals fled in 61% of encounters), followed by vehicles (17% fled) and...
Human recreation has been implicated in the decline of several populations of desert bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis nelsoni). Managers are concerned about the impact of increased recreation on desert bighorn sheep in Canyonlands National Park (NP), Utah, USA, where visitation increased 325% from 1979 to 1994. We compared behavioral responses of sheep to recreational activity between a low visitor use area and a high visitor use area during 1993 and 1994 by observing behavioral responses, distances moved, and duration of responses to vehicles, mountain bikers, and humans on foot. Hikers caused the most severe responses in desert bighorn sheep (animals fled in 61% of encounters), followed by vehicles (17% fled) and...


map background search result map search result map Population Estimation Techniques for Lekking Species Canopy closure around nest sites of Mexican spotted owls in northcentral Arizona Population Estimation Techniques for Lekking Species Canopy closure around nest sites of Mexican spotted owls in northcentral Arizona