Top 5 Things You Should Know About the Sage Grouse

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The greater sage grouse -- a charismatic rangeland bird found in western states -- is making big headlines all over the country. Here are the top five things you should know about the sage grouse (and why you should care):

  1. The greater sage grouse does not require Endangered Species Act protection. Over the past five years, an unprecedented, science-based land conservation effort across the west has taken place to protect the sagebrush landscape and reduce the threats to the sage grouse’s habitat. Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that these efforts have led to a huge wildlife win -- the sage grouse does not require Endangered Species Act protection.

    six sage grouse

     

  2. Largest land conservation effort in U.S. history. A diverse group of people across 11 western states has come together to protect the greater sage grouse, which calls the iconic sagebrush landscape home. States, federal land management agencies, private landowners, scientists, developers and many other stakeholders have all stepped up to protect and restore the sagebrush ecosystem. It’s making a huge difference, significantly reducing threats to 90 percent of the bird’s breeding habitat.

    Landscape with mountains and sage brush

     

  3. What’s good for the bird is good for the herd. Many of the species that live in the sagebrush ecosystem are found nowhere else in the world. Protecting the sage grouse’s habitat also protects the 350+ other species -- from mule deer and elk to pronghorn and golden eagles -- that depend on the sagebrush landscape for survival.

    pronghorn herd running

     

  4. Sagebrush equals world-class recreation. Nicknamed the sagebrush sea, the sagebrush ecosystem provides amazing outdoor recreation opportunities. These activities, along with ranching, are key to local economies. A healthy sagebrush habitat supports $1 billion in outdoor recreation.

    Family on a sagebrush landscape

     

  5. The sage grouse knows how to dance. The sage grouse is a stately looking bird with an elaborate mating ritual. Male birds strut, fan their feathers and inflate bright yellow throat sacs while making a popping sound -- all with the hope of attracting a female. These birds definitely know how to dance.

    Sage grouse "dancing"