Wyoming is home to about 40 percent of the sage grouse population in the West, though birds are found in 11 other states and across the Canadian border. The state has taken a central role in protecting the species, both to preserve the larger habitat that sage grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) and other species depend on, and to avoid a federal endangered species listing. Sage grouse numbers are likely to decline next year, part of a downswing in the bird’s population that happens about every decade, according to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. Judging from about 2,000 wings collected statewide from hunters, biologists estimate that each hen produced about 1.2 sage grouse chicks earlier this year that survived into the fall. A stable population produces around 1.5 chicks per hen, biologists say. “We are on the declining cycle for sage grouse right now,” said Tom Christiansen, sage grouse program coordinator for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.
Source: Star Tribune, Dec 25, 2017
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