How Sage Grouse Protections Help Three Other Bird Species

Oct 28, 2016

The sage grouse is one of the most iconic wildlife species in Idaho. But according to a new report, three slightly less-flashy birds are benefiting from conservation efforts aimed at sage grouse.

The sage grouse narrowly avoided landing on the Endangered Species list last fall. The bird is considered an umbrella species, which means that 300 other species depend on the same ecosystem – though they might not be as finicky.  

In a decision federal officials describe as a grand compromise, land use restrictions began to roll out across the sagebrush landscape. At the same time, wildlife officials acknowledged the hard work already being done by private land owners to save the bird.

Now, it looks like that work is paying off – for more than just the sage grouse. A new study shows a correlation between improving sage grouse habitat and bolstering populations of Brewer’s sparrow, sagebrush sparrow and the sage thrasher. The report comes from the Sage Grouse Initiative in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. All three bird species had seen their habitat decline along with the sage grouse, and are watched closely by wildlife managers.  

Find Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill

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