Kansas State University
205 Leasure Hall
Manhattan, KS 66506-3501
Phone: (785)532-6070
Fax: (785)532-7159
kscfwru@ksu.edu

Homepage

About the Unit
Cooperators
Mission Statement
History
Unit News
Courses
Publications

Facilities

People
Faculty and Staff
Graduate Students

Research
Current Projects
Completed Projects
Technical Assistance
Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU)

Resources and Employment
Graduate School
Graduate Applications

Forms and Manuals
Assistantships and Positions
Careers

Reproductive Success of and Response to Shrub Removal by Lesser Prairie-Chickens in Western Kansas and Eastern Colorado

Investigator:
Joseph Lautenbach, M.S. Student

Project Supervisor:
Dr. David Haukos
Dr. Christian Hagen
Jim Pitman

Funding:
Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism
Colorado Department of Wildlife and Parks
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
NRCS USDA
FSA USDA
U.S. Geological Survey
Great Plains LCC

Cooperators:
Jeff Prendergast
TNC
Kansas State University

Location:
Throughout Kansas and eastern Colorado

Completion:
December 2014

Status: On-going


Lesser prairie-chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus)

Objectives:
Investigate the nesting ecology of LEPCs in Kansas and eastern Colorado by measuring nesting propensity, nest site selection, nest site vegetation variables, and nest survival.

Evaluate the relative influence of variables affecting LEPC brood habitat use and survival.

Measure the LEPC response to the removal of woody vegetation (eastern red cedar).

Progress and Results:
Lesser prairie-chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus) occurs primarily on the High Plains of the Southern Great Plains. Population numbers and range have declined >80% since European settlement due to habitat loss and degradation. Increases in relative cover of native shrubs (e.g., sand shinnery oak [Quercus havardii) and sand sagebrush [Artemisia filifolia]) and other woody vegetation (e.g., eastern red cedar [Juniperus virginiana]) is reducing the amount of available grassland habitat. In addition, increasing presence of eastern red cedar is believed to cause avoidance of surrounding available habitat by LEPC due to occurrence of an unnatural structure on the landscape. However, much remains unclear regarding the influence of presence of eastern red cedar and other excessive cover of woody vegetation on LEPC populations including density thresholds, avoidance patterns, and response to removal. In addition, the overall population response by lesser prairie-chickens to conservation programs needs to be assessed in regard to demography of the population to model future population trends.
   Nest success for LPCs varied among regions in 2013 (south-central Kansas-0.483 [95% CI- 0.278, 0.662], northwest Kansas -0.293 [95% CI- 0.192, 0.401] eastern Colorado- 0.398 [95% CI 0.060, 0.745]). Nests were located in areas of greater visual obstruction on average than at paired points (1.33 dm, 0.65 dm, respectively. P < 0.0001). Grass was not selected for at a significant level, when compared to paired points. Nests were located in larger habitat patches than the surrounding patches. Brood survival varied among regions (South-central Kansas-Daily Survival Rate (DSR)- 0.980 [95% CI- 0.944, 0.993] northwest Kansas- DSR- 0.786 [95% CI- 0.584, 0.906], eastern Colorado- DSR- 0.931 [95% CI- 0.868, 0.965]. Broods used areas of greater visual obstruction than paired points (1.43 and 1.09, respectively. P = 0.005). Broods were more likely to use areas of greater forb cover (30.5% and 25.6%, respectively. P = 0.07).
   We found 11.6% of all prairie-chicken locations were located within 100 m of trees and 36.9% of prairie-chicken locations were within 200 m of trees. Tree densities of habitat patches ranged from 0.01 trees/ha to 22.90 trees/ha, with a mean of 3.09 trees/ha. We observed 88.6% of all prairie-chicken locations were in habitat patches with <1.0 trees/ha and 95.5% of all prairie-chicken locations were in patches with <1.5 trees/ha.





Products:
Lautenbach, J., R. Plumb, D. Haukos, and J. Pitman. 2013. Regional variation in nest success of lesser prairie-chickens in Kansas and Colorado. Biennial meeting of the Prairie Grouse Technical Council, Crookston, MN.

Lautenbach, J., R. Plumb, D. Haukos, and J. Pitman. 2013. Factors affecting brood and chick survival of lesser prairie-chickens in Kansas and Colorado. Biennial meeting of the Prairie Grouse Technical Council, Crookston, MN.

Lautenbach, J., R. Plumb, D. Haukos, and J. Pitman. 2014. Impacts of tree encroachment on lesser prairie-chickens. Joint meeting of American Ornithologists' Union, Cooper Ornithological Society, and Society of Canadian Ornithologists, Estes Park, Colorado.

Lautenbach, J., R. Plumb, D. Haukos, and J. Pitman. 2014. Survival and habitat selection of lesser prairie-chicken chicks and broods. Joint meeting of American Ornithologists' Union, Cooper Ornithological Society, and Society of Canadian Ornithologists, Estes Park, Colorado.

Lautenbach, J., R. Plumb, D. Haukos, and J. Pitman. 2014. Differences in successful and unsuccessful nests of lesser prairie-chickens in Kansas and Colorado. Kansas Natural Resource Conference, Wichita, Kansas.

Lautenbach, J., R. Plumb, D. Haukos, and J. Pitman. 2014. Nest site location by lesser prairie-chickens in Kansas and Colorado. Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference, Kansas City, MO.