Mother Sage Grouse in Brush

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A  sage grouse anxiously tries to draw researchers away fom her nest of hatchlings in sage brush covered plains.  The radio collar allows the scientists the track the bird to her nest.  They place transmitters on her chicks in hopes of uncovering clues to the perilous plight of a species once common throughout the Great Basin's public lands. Research shows 75% of the chicks die before 2 weeks of age.....At one time there were an estimated two million birds.  But now there is a breeding population of 15,000 to 30,000 birds--only 5-10,000 in the Upper Snake River.....Momentum is building to list the sage grouse under the federal Endangered Species Act, but many predict the effort will result in an environmental battle to match the spotted owl/logging debate. The most serious threats to sage grouse habitat are range fires, farming and livestock grazing.
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