Sage grouse numbers decline in Wyoming; drought blamed

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Sage grouse chick survival was low in Wyoming this summer due to the drought.

Photo courtesy Jen Hall, USFWS Wyoming Game and Fish

The number of sage grouse at leks decreased this spring, according to new data analyzed by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.

The decline in lek attendance was expected due to the sage grouse’s cyclical population trend and drought conditions. 

Lek attendance was down 13% from 2020. Officials counted an average of 16.9 male sage grouse per active lek, and more than 15,800 peak male sage grouse were observed on 85% of known, occupied leks. Annual counts are carried out by Game and Fish, Bureau of Land Management, consultants and volunteers. Birds are counted either aerially or on the ground through observations from a distance during their spring mating.

Chick survival is vital to supporting sage grouse numbers. Populations are cyclic and also influenced heavily by available food, like insects and forbs. Following a dry year, those resources were limited, and sage grouse broods averaged just over one chick surviving

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