Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation

 

Population characteristics and habitat utilization of bighorn sheep, Steens Mountain, Oregon Public Deposited

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https://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/5x21tj811

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  • A herd of re-introduced California bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis californiana) was studied from 15 June 1976 to 31 August 1977. Thirteen major and seven minor habitats were delineated and described. Habitat use by bighorns was observed throughout the study and a habitat preference value (H.P.V.) was calculated based on use by ewe-lamb groups. Certain habitats were highly preferred for foraging or resting by bighorns during different seasons of the year, probably because of the physical and vegetative characteristics they offered. Examination of daily activity patterns of ewe-lamb groups revealed that they primarily fed in the morning, rested at mid-day, and again fed toward evening during all seasons. Comparison of the activity budgets (time allotment for the various activities) between the sex and age groups within seasons disclosed statistical differences in all seasons. In spring lambs foraged less and pursued other activities more than ewes or rams. In summer, rams foraged less than lambs and lambs foraged less than ewes. The reverse trend was noted for resting activity. These trends were probably related energy demands of each sex and age class. In fall and winter no difference was found between the activity budgets of ewes and lambs. Adult rams, however, spent less time foraging and more time resting and pursuing other activities than ewes or lambs. This was related to energy demands and the rut. Estimated herd size fluctuated between 128 and 180 individuals with most of the change attributable to birth and subsequent mortality of lambs. Factors responsible for lamb mortality were not identified but losses appeared related to parasites and disease; Between 1976 and 1977 the population increased very little.
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