Black grouse winter and pre-reproductive phenology
Study area: winter and pre-reproductive phenology of the black grouse (Tetrao tetrix) was studied in Mont Avic Nature Park.
Protocol: identification and characterization of winter covers along transects between 1400 and 2300 meters above sea level traversed from December to March, with altitude, exposition, micro-topography and vegetation cover variable and representative of the environmental variety of the site; subdivision of covers into two types: under the snow cover (burrows or igloos) and other sites (on the ground, on frozen snow, in trees); measurements of the profile of the snow cover (overall thickness; thickness and position of any frozen layers). b) Observation of the first phases of reproduction by placing cameras in courting arenas frequented by a number of males, analysis of video recordings for the extraction of data regarding the duration of leking activities, the frequency of single attitudes, the presence of females, courting actions and mating.
Black grouse lek in the Alps
Results: a) assessment of meteorological-climatic and environmental conditions that allow for the excavation of igloos, subsequent analysis of historical climate data, to measure the frequency and duration of phenomena favorable and unfavorable to the digging of igloos (digging igloos is a characteristic behavior of the species, which during the winter months makes for a better energy balance and a decrease in mortality from predation). b) frequency curves of the single phenomena observed, analysis of possible relations with the temperature trends, persistence of snow cover on the ground and the spring phenology of some plant species (larch, Ericaceae).