Western Sage Grouse Population Surges
Montana biologists say they have seen a 73% increase in the sage grouse population in 2020.
Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks estimate the number of birds to be at around 77,977. That's quite a jump from the 44,867 greater sage grouse in the state in 2019.
States like Wyoming saw an increase in their numbers, as well.
Wyoming has about 38% of all greater sage grouse and had a slight decline in the average number of males seen strutting, the agency said.
From the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Website for Wyoming - "Wyoming is a stronghold for greater sage-grouse, with the most birds and the most sagebrush of any state. The state is home to 43 million acres of sagebrush, an estimated 37 percent of the greater sage-grouse population and the most leks in the greater sage-grouse’s range. Wyoming was the first to adopt a comprehensive statewide greater sage-grouse strategy and is generally recognized for its conservation leadership in the heart of greater sage-grouse country. Energy development and associated infrastructure is a predominant threat, along with invasive species in northeastern Wyoming. Fire and ex-urban development also pose localized challenges."
Montana might have seen their population increase because, unlike Wyoming, Montana had some very good weather so far in 2020.
According to the report, “The lack of widespread drought or extreme weather events (e.g., hail, flooding) during this period may have positively influenced late summer food resources and led to higher survival and recruitment.Data from FWP’s sage-grouse research project in central Montana suggests nest success and hen survival were comparatively high in spring and summer 2019.”
A much more in-depth report can be found at WyoFile.