RSS Feed (xml)

Powered By

Skin Design:
Free Blogger Skins

Powered by Blogger

Monday, August 28, 2006

Gunnison Sage Grouse

Here's a question--Who is going to step up to save the Gunnison Sage Grouse, perhaps the most endangered bird in the Lower 48? I was just out in Colorado for some Audubon meetings, and there is a real need to get some national attention on this bird. There is a local group Sisk-a-dee dedicated to protecting the birds, a conservation plan, and some serious efforts by the Colorado Division of Wildlife, but hardly anyone out there has even heard of, let alone embraced, this bird.

True, thousands have have travelled to see these birds. But how many people go to Colorado to see these birds, then don't lift a finger to do something for them after they get home?

How many of us can envision a world where there aren't just 5,000 Gunnison Sage Grouse on a good day, but maybe 25,000 or 50,000 of them across a larger expanse of their former range into Arizona and New Mexico?

Everyone was over the moon when we thought the ivorybill might have a second chance. While nobody seems to be able to find an ivorybill, here's a bird that we really can do something about still.

Is there a conservation through birding strategy that can help these birds? Some way to get more people to see, and then actually do something to help, these birds? What about a Sage Grouse Research and Visitor Center in Gunnison? A place where you can go to learn about the birds, take a guided tour to see them booming on their leks in the frigid cold of an early Colorado Spring? A center where summer interns and researchers can work out of as they struggle to learn more about these birds. A place on the map with a 40 foot sage grouse statue in front that makes the local community proud of their celebrity birds? Or a birding festival that fills the local hotels during the off season?

We have the tools. But the folks with Sisk-a-dee in Gunnison need our help. Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for these guys, and for our credibility as conservationists if we stand by and watch these guys go the way of Attwater's Prairie Chickens (down to about 40 birds in the wild).

(Gunnison Sage Grouse photo credit)

No comments:

Nature Blog Network Fatbirder's Top 1000 Birding Websites