Translocations of greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) have been attempted in 7 states and one Canadian province with very little success. To recover a small remnant population and test the efficacy of sage-grouse translocations, we captured and transported 137 adult female sage-grouse from 2 source populations to a release site in Strawberry Valley, Utah, USA, during March–April 2003–2005. The resident population of sage-grouse in Strawberry Valley was approximately 150 breeding birds prior to the release. We radiomarked each female and documented survival, movements, reproductive effort, flocking with resident grouse, and lek attendance. We used Program MARK to calculate annual survival of translocated females in the first year after release, which averaged 0.60 (95% CI = 0.515–0.681). Movements of translocated females were within current and historic sage-grouse habitat in Strawberry Valley, and we detected no grouse outside of the study area. Nesting propensity for first (newly translocated) and second (surviving) year females was 39% and 73%, respectively. Observed nest success of all translocated females during the study was 67%. By the end of their first year in Strawberry Valley, 100% of the living translocated sage-grouse were in flocks with resident sage-grouse. The translocated grouse attended the same lek as the birds with which they were grouped. In 2006, the peak male count for the only remaining active lek in Strawberry Valley was almost 4 times (135 M) the 6-year pretranslocation (1998–2003) average peak attendance of 36 males (range 24–50 M). Translocations can be an effective management tool to increase small populations of greater sage-grouse when conducted during the breeding season and before target populations have been extirpated.
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Vol. 72 • No. 1