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Greater Prairie Chicken Ranges, Movements, and Habitat Usage in Kansas

Robert J. Robel, James N. Briggs, Jerome J. Cebula, Nova J. Silvy, Charles E. Viers and Philip G. Watt
The Journal of Wildlife Management
Vol. 34, No. 2 (Apr., 1970), pp. 286-306
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Wildlife Society
DOI: 10.2307/3799013
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3799013
Page Count: 21
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Greater Prairie Chicken Ranges, Movements, and Habitat Usage in Kansas
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Abstract

Telemetry equipment was used to track 70 (34 males, 31 females, and 5 unsexed) individual greater prairie chickens (Tympanuchus cupido pinnatus) in northeastern Kansas. A total of 3,214 locations was recorded and 2,229 successive days of location data were obtained during 1964-1968. These data were used to calculate ranges of individual birds, and the distances between locations of birds on successive days were used to determine movement activity. Between 1966 and 1968, a total of 2,019 locations of 49 of the 70 birds (26 males and 23 females) was analyzed according to habitat usage. Ranges of birds were > 200 acres during the late summer and < 500 acres during fall and spring. Adult cocks exhibited the largest monthly range (1,267 acres) in March and the smallest (79 acres) in August. Ranges of juveniles were similar to those of adult males. Movement data reflected the same trends as did the range data. Occasional inter-booming ground movements were recorded for both males and females. Extensive movements (2.7-6.7 miles) of juveniles during October and November may represent population dispersal and may serve as a population regulatory mechanism. Attempts to correlate vegetation density with seasonal changes in habitat usage were futile. The shallow range site was used more by prairie chickens than were the limestone breaks and claypan vegetation complexes on the study area. Use of booming grounds was greater in spring and use of grain sorghum fields extensive in winter. Intensive use was made of booming ground areas in the morning, limestone breaks range site in midday, and wheat and oats fields in evening.

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