Population Estimation Techniques for Lekking Species

Authors

  • DANIEL P. WALSH,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA
    Search for more papers by this author
    • Wildlife Health Program, Colorado Division of Wildlife, 317 W Prospect Road, Fort Collins, CO 80526, USA

  • JULIE R. STIVER,

    1. School of Biological Sciences, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 348 Manter Hall, Lincoln, NE 68588-0118, USA
    Search for more papers by this author
    • Colorado Division of Wildlife, Southeast Region Service Center, 4255 Sinton Road, Colorado Springs, CO 80907, USA

  • GARY C. WHITE,

    1. Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA
    Search for more papers by this author
  • THOMAS E. REMINGTON,

    1. Colorado Division of Wildlife, 317 W Prospect Road, Fort Collins, CO 80526, USA
    Search for more papers by this author
  • ANTHONY D. APA

    1. Colorado Division of Wildlife, Northwest Region Service Center, 711 Independent Avenue, Grand Junction, CO 81505, USA
    Search for more papers by this author

E-mail: dan.walsh@state.co.us

Abstract

Abstract: With the decline of many lekking species, the need to develop a rigorous population estimation technique is critical for successful conservation and management. We employed mark—resight methods to estimate population size for 2 lekking species: greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) and Gunnison sage-grouse (Centrocercus minimus). We evaluated 2 different estimators: Bowden's estimator and the mixed logit-normal mark—resight model. We captured and marked 75 greater sage-grouse. We counted marked and unmarked birds as they attended 15 known leks. We used 36 and 37 marked Gunnison sage-grouse to estimate population size in 2003 and 2004, respectively. We observed marked and unmarked Gunnison sage-grouse daily as they attended 6 leks in 2003 and 3 leks in 2004. Based on our examination of the assumptions of each mark—resight estimator, relative to behavior and biology of these species, we concluded the mixed logit-normal mark—resight model is preferred. We recommend wildlife managers employ mark—resight approaches when statistically rigorous population estimates are required for management and conservation of lekking species.

Ancillary