August 8, 2022

Sage grouse — «An indicator of ecosystem health»

"Ecosystem health indicator" is what scientists call the sage grouse. Today, its population has decreased by 90%, and this is a signal of the plight of the sagebrush steppes in which it lives in western North America, from Canada to New Mexico. The main reason for the reduction of the area is drilling, mines and grazing.
Grouse use wormwood as food and their place of refuge. However, in the last century, the population of people throughout the western part of North America reduced the amount of wormwood in the ecosystem, and many areas led to devastation and a state of ecological crisis, which could not but affect sage grouse. Their historical range was reduced by 56%, and the birds themselves lost part of their population, and only 200-500 thousand remained from the previous millions.

The body length of this unusual representative reaches 75 cm, and the weight is up to 4 kg, and the male is much larger than the female.

Interesting fact:

There are unusual pouches on the male's chest, which serve him to extract loud sounds during the mating season. To make rolling and explosive sounds, he inflates and empties them.

Another distinctive feature is the feathers of a very long tail, which are pointed, and when the male's tail opens and stands vertically during the current, they stick out needle-like in all directions.

One of the main conditions for the comfortable existence of sage grouse is the presence of wet wetlands. In its natural habitat, black grouse has a number of enemies, for example, coyote, red lynx, American badger, feathered hawk families. Grouse is afraid of them because they not only destroy clutches, but also hunt chicks and adult birds.

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