Award-winning photographer Noppadol Paothong is striving to rescue grassland grouse from the brink of extinction by showing the world what it stands to lose if these species are allowed to disappear forever. His book, Save the Last Dance: A Story of North American Grassland Grouse, captures the dazzling beauty of seven grouse species whose populations are diminishing across the prairies and plains of America— and one species that has already lost its battle for survival. The book also shares the conservation efforts underway to save these species.
The Bird Conservancy (formerly Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory) collaborated with a graduate student at Oxford University to study the impacts of natural gas well pads and their associated roads on the distribution of sagebrush-obligate songbirds. The student, Max Mutter, writes about the experiences leading up to the study and shares a key result.
The Greater Sage-Grouse represents a special part of our country’s sagebrush steppe ecosystem. Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory is testing the effectiveness of different types of fence markers to help these grouse avoid collisions with fences. Field crew leader Taylor Gorman and biologist Nick Van Lanen offer insights from the first season of this study before heading back into the field.
Earlier this year, RMBO hosted forums to gauge feedback on a new Decision Support Tool. The tool helps compare management options that ensure the economic viability of grazing lands with the habitat needs of sagebrush-dependent songbirds and grouse.
Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory is testing the effectiveness of different types of fence markers to help Greater Sage-Grouse avoid collisions with fences. Field crew leader Taylor Gorman and biologist Nick Van Lanen write from frigid Sublette County, Wyoming, on the importance of markers for reducing grouse mortalities and report on progress of RMBO’s study thus far.
Encroachment of coniferous trees such as juniper can noticeably alter sagebrush ecosystems and, in turn, habitat quality for wildlife. Range Conservationist Brandon Elkins writes about a project to remove juniper trees in the Powder River Basin of Wyoming to benefit sage-grouse and other wildlife.
Some of Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory’s stewardship staff were in Pinedale, Wyoming, in late June to celebrate Sage Grouse Initiative successes with partners from national and state agencies, nonprofits and landowner organizations. Billed as “wildlife conservation through sustainable agriculture,” SGI is a model for voluntary private-lands conservation.