Sage-grouse – Focusing on Wildlife
May 162017
Helping Lesser Prairie-Chickens and the People Saving Them

In 2013, when I did my Conservation Big Year, one of the birds I was most focused on seeing was the Lesser Prairie-Chicken. I saw and heard my first ones way back in April 1996 when my sister-in-law Jeanie and I took a road trip out West. One of my destinations was Lamar, Colorado, where […]

Feb 172016
POLL: Should the greater sage-grouse be kept on the "endangered species list"?

The greater sage-grouse, a bird best known for its flamboyant mating ritual, has become embroiled in a tussle over states’ rights, with Utah suing the federal government over its protection of the threatened species. Utah’s lawsuit claims that a federal plan to protect the sage-grouse has “overthrown” the state’s own work to safeguard the species […]

Jun 092015
Can Sage-Grouse Be Saved Without Shutting Down the West?

It struts around, it puffs its chest, but its numbers are plummeting. Governments are struggling to preserve enough habitat to save the bird. When scientist Michael Schroeder was looking for a place to live in eastern Washington State, he chose to be within an hour and a half drive of seven species of grouse, the […]

May 142015
Sage Grouse Strut

Finally had a chance to see a greater-sage grouse lek (and a sharp-tailed lek, too!) last week. It’s nearing the end of lekking season, but there were still about 45 males (and a few females showed up) strutting their stuff. The first day I went out there were 40 mph winds and I couldn’t even […]

Nov 252014
Poll: Should U.S. Government Kill Thousands of Birds to Save Salmon?

EAST SAND ISLAND, Oregon—Alexa Piggott is crawling through a dark, dusty, narrow tunnel on this 62-acre island at the mouth of the Columbia River. On the ground above her head sit thousands of seabirds. Piggott, a crew leader with Bird Research Northwest, is headed for an observation blind from which she’ll be able to count […]

May 162014
 Conservation Groups Call on Federal Agencies to Halt Plan to Kill 4,000 Ravens

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game’s (IDFG) plan to increase numbers of Greater Sage-Grouse by poisoning up to 4,000 Common Ravens – a species that has been shown to only minimally impact grouse populations – has drawn objections from conservation groups, which have signed letters to Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service […]

Mar 042014
The U.S. House of Representatives Declares War on Wildlife and the Environment

Can the second session of the 113th U.S. House of Representatives be any more harmful to wildlife and the environment than the first session of 2013? It appears that they can! On January 3, 2014, the U.S. House of Representatives convened to start its second session of the 113th Congress. By the end of the […]

Dec 082013
The Fool Hen: Spruce Grouse

When Spruce Grouse is approached by a predator, it relies on camouflage and stillness to stay hidden, often allowing people to approach within a few feet before exploding into flight. This behavior has earned the species the nickname of “fool hen.” (Other birds that rely on cryptic coloration include American Woodcock and Snowy Plover.) Spruce […]

Jul 292013
New Studies Indicate Protected Areas Needed to Conserve Greater Sage-Grouse

A new reportby the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and other peer-reviewed research published this spring indicate that conserving Greater Sage-Grouse will require both protecting large areas of habitat and making significant changes in land mana gement to reverse population declines of this wide-ranging species. Federal agencies are currently engaged in an unprecedented, West-wide planning process […]

Apr 092013
New Report Identifies Conservation Hotspots for Greater Sage-Grouse

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has released a new report detailing what it will take to conserve the imperiled Greater Sage-Grouse. The report maps out the most important areas for the conservation of the declining species, which in 2015 may be added to the list of threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. “This […]

Mar 222013
Endangered or Not, but at Least No Longer Waiting

Perhaps it does not seem cause for celebration that the Oregon spotted frog, a four-inch-long amphibian that prefers the Pacific Northwest’s dwindling marshy spots, is to be considered this year for federal protection as an endangered species. Tell that to the frog. It has been languishing for 22 years — since 1991 — awaiting its […]

Jan 162013
FWS Proposes to List Gunnison Sage-Grouse as Endangered

(Washington, D.C., January 15, 2013) The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has proposed to list the Gunnison Sage-Grouse as endangered under the Endangered Species Act and designate 1.7 million acres of critical habitat in an effort to halt the long term population decline of the iconic western bird. FWS says that that the principal […]