Posted by: atowhee | July 5, 2014


The Spotted Owl on the US Endangered Species list has long been the most controversial species in parts of the American West. That owl was argued over as logging practices were forced to change in publicly owned forests.
More recently angry fights over renewed hunting of wolves seemed to have eclipsed that battle. Now the hard to find Greater Sage Grouse is about to become political species #1 in the western U.S. Read here for explanation.

Two Republican Senate candidates opposing incumbent Democrats want national legislation that would prevent the species from being put on the Endangered List for a decade. So the sage grouse, allowed no vote on its own future, may have a lot to do with who controls the U.S. Senate after this fall’s elections.IMG_4447
These two photos of a male on display were taken a few years back by Peter Kriesman. This was on an April trip up Foster Flat Road at Malheur during the spring lekking season. A fire in the area two years ago has meant the lekking males are reduced in number there now…and no females have been seen there the last two springs. Just one more example of how tenuous the grouse’s hold is now that so much former sagebrush steppe has been turned into cattle grazing land.

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