Sharp-tailed Grouse Lek Surveys, Northwest Region, 1999  


Cameron Broatch


Spring lek surveys in the Northwest Region of Alberta were completed for the Sharptailed
Grouse Habitat Program in 1999, its fifth and final year. During the 1999 study
period, 127 sites were investigated. Seventeen new active lek sites were recorded,
while the remaining 110 sites surveyed were identified from previous surveys. Of the
127 lek sites surveyed, 54 were active in 1999, with a total reproductive population of
251 sharp-tailed grouse. Habitat assessments were completed on a 5.8 km2 area
around each lek site, determined by including the quarter section containing the lek as
well as each of the surrounding quarter sections. Correlative analyses revealed
declining presence of active lek sites as cultivation exceeded 25 %. The majority of leks
(67%) had 10 or fewer sharp-tailed grouse present. Population levels this low may be
more susceptible to predation and over hunting which may be a contributing factor to the
abandonment and relocation of lek sites.

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