It’s a love dance, the traditional and elaborate courtship ritual of the greater sage grouse.
From the Buffalo Bulletin
And it’s one of nature’s greatest shows; an ancient ecological pageant. Males puff up their white-feathered chests and their air sacks make a sound like “kerplunk;” their spiky tail feathers fan and shake. Like boxers, the males bob and weave over the lek – all for the attention and affection of the dun-colored hens that watch.
According to the Audubon Society, just 150,000 greater sage grouse are left in the West.
A new U.S. Bureau of Land Management study indicates that energy development and West Nile virus outbreaks threaten to make the sage grouse extinct in Wyoming. According to the “Powder River Basin Sage Grouse Viability Study,” from 2001 to 2005, sage grouse populations have declined 82 percent within the coalbed methane fields in northeast Wyoming.
Indeed, of the three Canadian provinces and 16 states where the sage grouse once flourished, substantial populations exist only in seven states – with stronghold populations anchored in Wyoming, according to the Biodiversity Conservation Alliance.
While the nation needs all the energy it can muster to fight off its foreign oil addiction, that development cannot come at the expense of the greater sage grouse. READ MORE …