Since the snow has started to fall in the high country of Utah I have started thinking about Greater Sage-Grouse again. Part of thinking about them is because I think of how hard they have to work to survive the harsh winters and the other part is because of the human-caused dangers they are facing that threaten their survival.
Oil exploration, wells, tar sands and the roads that cut through the sagebrush steppe are all problems for these Greater Sage-Grouse. If some Utah politicians had their way much of the wild land in this state would be sold or leased for oil & gas exploration and production regardless of what the people want and what our future needs. For what? Money, greed and the opportunity to make the pockets of the rich even fatter.
But that means taking away public lands from the citizens of this country. Putting up fences, loud machinery and roads that dissect the sagebrush steppe where trucks rumble by 24 hours a day. And it isn’t just the grouse that are under pressure… it is all of the birds and animals that call the sagebrush sea home.
During the winter the Greater Sage Grouse struggle to survive in deep snow by feeding on the exposed sagebrush. In the spring, those who survive will dance, display, spar and mate to continue the existence of their species.
I watched a movie earlier this year produced by PBS called The Sagebrush Sea and I highly recommend viewing it if you haven’t already. (As I write this PBS is having web site issues, please check back later to view it). The photography and videography by Gerrit Vyn is outstanding.
I’m in the sagebrush steppe quite often here in Utah to photograph the birds, wildlife and scenery I see and love there. It is critically important for all of us to protect and preserve it for future generations of birds, animals and people.
Life is good.
More information about the issues surrounding the Greater Sage-Grouse please see this article on the Cornell Lab web site Living Bird Story.
More of my Greater Sage-Grouse images