wildlife habitat management practices

Prairie Grouse

Our native prairie game birds include sharp tailed grouse and greater prairie chicken. Prairie grouse are highly dependent on native grasslands for nesting, feeding and displaying. Unlike pheasants, which can tolerate edge habitat and fragmentation, prairie grouse prefer large landscapes dominated by grasslands.

Grazing management can be the key to successful prairie grouse management. Managed grazing, in particular rest rotational grazing systems allow suitable residual nesting and brooding cover on the landscape. Proper riparian pasture management can also be crucial for prairie grouse. Fencing off creek bottoms and other riparian areas can provide needed cover and food in the form of native shrubs such as chokecherry, buffalo berry and American plum. Shrub clumps of native shrubs can be planted adjacent to draws and creek bottoms if woody regeneration is unlikely. As with all ground nesting birds, converting croplands to warm season native grasses will significantly increase grouse nesting cover on your property.

Habitat advisors are available to assist landowners in designing, developing and funding habitat improvements. Find one in your area today!