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1 February 2007 Ruffed Grouse Brood Habitat Use in Mixed Softwood–Hardwood Nordic–Temperate Forests, Quebec, Canada
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Adequate cover is a critical component of ruffed grouse (Bonasa umbellus) habitat during the brood-rearing period when chick mortality is high. We assessed habitat use by ruffed grouse during the brood-rearing period by comparing characteristics of tree, shrub, and ground layers at ruffed grouse brood and random locations. We captured and radiomarked 29 females with broods in 2 forest settings of the Réserve faunique de Portneuf, Quebec, Canada. We described grouse habitat using ground surveys and forest maps, and we identified the used habitat characteristics using analysis of variance and logistic regression. Females with broods used mixed and regenerated clearcut stands that were 1.5–7 m tall and 11–20 years old. Compared with random locations, grouse locations had higher lateral obstruction (76% vs. 68%), higher small-stem density (29,085 stems/ha vs. 19,340 stems/ha), and were closer to roads and trails. Percentage of coverage by ground vegetation was not higher at grouse locations as often reported in previous studies. Results from this study will help orient ruffed grouse habitat management on Quebec public land and elsewhere in nordic–temperate mixed hardwood–softwood forests to maintain suitable brood habitat after logging operations. Forest management should promote growth of young mixed stands with high horizontal and vertical cover provided by high small-stem density, which offers protection against aerial and terrestrial predation. Edges such as roadsides are also important in brood habitat as they provide food and cover.

WENDY GIROUX, PIERRE BLANCHETTE, JEAN-CLAUDE BOURGEOIS, and GILBERT CABANA "Ruffed Grouse Brood Habitat Use in Mixed Softwood–Hardwood Nordic–Temperate Forests, Quebec, Canada," Journal of Wildlife Management 71(1), 87-95, (1 February 2007).
Published: 1 February 2007

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