Conservation

6 Other Birds That Will Benefit From Sagebrush Conservation

As much as we love them, it's not just about the Greater Sage-Grouse.

The sagebrush steppe is an old-growth forest in miniature, with some species of the fragrant shrubs living for more than a century. Development has cut the habitat to half its historical size, and today it spans 173 million acres across 11 states. The sage-grouse is inextricably linked to this sagebrush ecosystem: The plants provide cover from raptors and other predators, serve as shelter for nesting birds in the summer, and supply the grouse’s sole source of food in the winter.

But the sage-grouse isn't the only bird species who lives on the sagebrush steppe, not by a long shot. Raptors and songbirds also make their homes there, and the management practices that will benefit the sage-grouse will help them as well. In addition to the above Mountain Bluebird, see below for other birds who share habitat with the Greater Sage-Grouse, and will benefit from the conservation efforts devoted to them.

Western Meadowlark. Photo: Kurt Bowman/Audubon Photography Awards

Western Meadowlarks, known for their trilling calls, are found throughout the interior West.
 

Loggerhead Shrike. Photo: Richard Rigterink/Audubon Photography Awards

Loggerhead Shrikes are predatory songbirds. They store uneaten food by impaling it on barbed wire fencing and thorns, earning them the nickname "Butcher Bird."
 

Burrowing Owl. Photo: Andy Long/Audubon Photography Awards

Burrowing Owls hunt mammals and insects. True to their name, they live in holes in the ground (usually burrows already excavated by prairie dogs).
 

Sage Thrasher. Photo: Tom Koerner/USFWS

Sage Thrashers frequently perch atop sagebrush plants. Their song is heard almost constantly during the breeding season.
 

Northern Harrier. Photo: Ray Whitt/Audubon Photography Awards

Northern Harriers are easy to spot as they swoop and soar close to the ground in search of prey.