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Summer Movements and Habitat Use by Sage Grouse Broods in Central Montana

Richard O. Wallestad
The Journal of Wildlife Management
Vol. 35, No. 1 (Jan., 1971), pp. 129-136
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Wildlife Society
DOI: 10.2307/3799881
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3799881
Page Count: 8
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Summer Movements and Habitat Use by Sage Grouse Broods in Central Montana
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Abstract

The habitat use and movements of sage grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) broods were studied with the aid of radiotelemetry in central Montana during the summers of 1968 and 1969. Five hundred and eleven locations were obtained on 13 radio-marked sage grouse broods. In both summers big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) in scattered (1-10 percent) and common (10-25 percent) densities received the greatest utilization by broods. Sagebrush heights at brood sites ranged mainly between 6 and 18 inches. For the 2 years combined, sagebrush canopy coverage averaged 14 percent for June, 12 percent for July, 10 percent for August, and 21 percent for September. Broods utilized sagebrush-grassland benches early in the summer (June and July) and shifted to greasewood (Sarcobatus vermiculatus) bottoms and/or alfalfa (Medicago sativa) fields as the forbs on the higher elevations became desiccated. Broods remained in these bottom types until late August and early September and then shifted back into sagebrush. Sizes of areas used by broods averaged 213 acres in sagebrush in early summer (June and July), 144 acres in alfalfa fields (July and August), 91 acres in greasewood bottoms (July and August), and 128 acres in sagebrush in late summer (August and September). Availability of food appeared to be the factor that determined the vegetational types utilized by broods during different periods of the summer.

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