Sage Grouse 101
Imagine this scene. It’s dawn on the prairie. You breathe in the pungent scent of sagebrush and listen to popping sounds like the uncorking of champagne bottles. And then you see them. A couple dozen male sage grouse are dancing. They strut and fan their spiky tails. They inflate and deflate their twin bright yellow throat sacs to make the popping sound. Lurking in the nearby sagebrush, a few hens watch the dancers, as they will for many mornings in spring before choosing a mate.
Sage grouse and sagebrush are as closely linked as apples to apple pie. They eat exclusively sagebrush in winter. The hens nest under the sheltering cover of sagebrush canopy. Where sagebrush-steppe lands are healthy, sage grouse flourish.
The brief introduction to sage grouse on each page is derived primarily from two sources:
(Click on titles below.)
Guidelines to manage sage grouse populations and their habitats, by John W.Connelly and fellow authors, from the Wildlife Society Bulletin 2000.
Greater Sage-Grouse - from The Birds of North America Online, Cornell Lab of Ornithology: Schroeder, M.A., J.R. Young and Ce. E. Braun, 1999. Greater Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.) Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
(Note: The BNA link above requires a subscription to view the greater sage-grouse species profile. Please visit All About Birds for a brief overview.)