Sage grouse have been listed as a candidate species for protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is required to make the decision to either list sage grouse under protection of the ESA in 2015 or to remove them from the candidate list.
Male sage grouse © Bob Griffith
While we waited, my crew member was texting back forth with the other members to inform them if any females were getting close to the net. During the morning several males entered into the net zone, but females were staying clear. Finally at 8 a.m. one lone female walked under the net, and in a split second the net was deployed, the blinds were thrown off and crew members rushed to the net.
Editor’s note: Effective conservation requires more understanding of the movement and habitat needs of these iconic birds. The tracking devices will help researchers identify conservation strategies to help protect sage grouse and their habitat.