Date of Award

January 2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Susan Ellis-Felege


Increasing energy development and grassland conversion pose several issues for Sharp-tailed Grouse (Tympanuchus phasianellus) in western North Dakota. Nest attendance patterns can serve as one of the first indicators of stress induced by landscape changes. Nest camera monitoring allows researchers to observe nest attendance patterns; however, little is known about how behavioral responses to cameras influence nest survival. Our study objectives were to determine (1) how characteristics of the hen, nest and landscape influence nest attendance patterns of Sharp-tailed Grouse, and (2) if behaviors resulting from camera monitoring influence daily nest survival rates. Nest attendance was lower at sites with less energy development and lower nest survival. Large spatial and temporal differences appear to be driving nest attendance patterns. Behaviors relative to camera monitoring did not greatly influence nest success; therefore, we recommend cameras as a valuable tool to study the impact of the changing landscape on nesting ecology.