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McNair Scholars Program

Chelsea Sink

She/her

Education: Bachelor of Science in wildlife management and ecology (May 2017)

Currently pursuing a Master of Science in wildlife science at Oregon State University

McNair Project: The Influence of Raptor Abundance on Lesser Prairie-Chicken Habitat Use (2016)

Mentor: David Haukos, Ph.D.

Lesser Prairie-Chickens (Tympanuchus pallidicintctus) are subject to predation by many opportunistic mammalian and avian predators. Many studies have addressed Lesser Prairie-Chicken reactions to avian predators at leks and the avoidance of tall structures that could serve as perching sites, but little is understood about how birds react to a change in predator abundance over time. Using data collected during the 2014 and 2015 breeding seasons (March 15 – September 15) from western Kansas, I compared female Lesser Prairie-Chicken mortality and vegetation characteristics of habitats used by females use during weeks of above and below average raptor abundance. Results from my study indicate that predation risk as well as female habitat use varies by location and management plans developed to provide Lesser Prairie Chickens with adequate vegetation cover should be tailored to each ecoregion.