Moving can be tough, but eventually most of us acclimate to new surroundings.
That’s true for humans, and research from Washington State University shows it’s the same for sage-grouse too.
A team of scientists in the School of the Environment (SoE) successfully moved sage-grouse, a threatened bird species in Washington state, from one area of their range to another to increase their numbers and diversify their gene pool. A WSU study on the project in the Journal of Wildlife Management shows relocating the birds is a viable and productive step toward helping their population recover in the state.
“In the first year after moving sage-grouse in, they tended to move around a lot and didn’t reproduce as effectively as the native population,” said Kyle Ebenhoch, a researcher now working at the U.S. Geological Survey. “It took them about a year to settle in and get used to their new surroundings.”
Ebenhoch, a WSU graduate student during this project, wrote the paper with SoE professors Daniel Thornton, Lisa Shipley, and Jeffrey Manning. Kevin White, a contract wildlife biologist with the Yakima Training Center at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, was also a member of the research team. The training center hosts a population of sage-grouse where the relocation work was done.