Natural Resources, School of


Date of this Version



Avian Conservation and Ecology 12(2): 17


2017 by the author(s).


Anthropogenic disturbances can affect species of conservation concern by influencing their behavior. Of special concern is the possibility that noise from anthropogenic structures in grassland habitats, such as wind turbines and roads, may affect the propagation of the low-frequency boom chorus of lekking male Greater Prairie-Chickens (Tympanuchus cupido). We used sound pressure levels from acoustic recordings taken at 10 leks in the Nebraska Sandhills, USA during 2013 and 2014 in a SPreAD-GIS sound propagation model to make spatial projections of the boom chorus under a variety of conditions including landscape composition, conspecific attendance, and weather. We then used sets of linear mixed models in a model selection process to determine how background noise, female and male lek attendance, time of day, relative humidity, air temperature, and wind speed affected the area of chorus propagation. The predicted area of propagation decreased with increasing background noise (β = -0.09, SE = 0.04) and increased with greater female lek attendance (β = 0.09, SE = 0.03), higher levels of relatively humidity (β = 0.07, SE = 0.03), and higher air temperatures (β = 0.05, SE = 0.03). Our analyses provide new insight on how acoustic, social, and meteorological factors influence an important reproductive behavior in an imperiled prairie grouse.