Sharp-tailed Grouse Lek Surveys: 5 Year Summary Northwest Region


Cameron Broatch


Declines in populations of sharp-tailed grouse (Tympanuchus phasianellus jamesi) in the Northwest
region of Alberta from the 1960’s through the 1980’s have been attributed to habitat loss from
intensified agricultural practices and land clearing. The Sharp-tailed Grouse Lek Survey Program in the Northwest region began in 1995 and concluded in 1999. The main objectives were to conduct spring lek surveys and gather site-specific habitat information to facilitate the development of habitat
securement and enhancement in the future. The program had four phases: (1) historical review of all
previous lek surveys in the NW, (2) implementation of an advertising campaign to raise awareness of the sharp-tailed grouse program to land owners (3) spring lek surveys, and (4) habitat mapping. Between 1995 and 1999, 74 active lek sites were identified and their surrounding habitat mapped. Results indicated a strong negative correlation between areas exceeding 25 % cultivation and the presence of active lek sites. The majority of leks (67%) had less than 11 sharp-tailed grouse.

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