Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Management of grasslands to reduce availability of invertebrate and vertebrate prey that attract foraging skunks likely will be difficult. Because skunks consume a variety of prey species, management to reduce a single prey species or guild likely will only redirect skunk foraging to another species or guild. Even if prey abundance in grasslands could be manipulated, in landscapes where nesting habitat is at a premium because of fragmentation by farming, it may not be possible to prevent skunks from foraging intensively and persistently in the small tracts of grassland that remain. We conclude that the most effective habitat management at the landscape level to reduce skunk depredation on eggs of ground-nesting birds is to provide abundant nesting cover. This will provide opportunity for birds to disperse their nests widely and may reduce the likelihood of nests being discovered by skunks.