No evidence that sage grouse dislike tall things, report finds

Dec 18, 2013

A new report questions the assumption that sage grouse dislike tall things.

It’s often assumed that the birds avoid tall structures, such as electrical poles or wind turbines, because they fear that predators could perch on top. But report co-author Karl Kosciuch says that’s not necessarily true. His team reviewed the existing scientific literature about how the birds respond to development, and they found no evidence one way or the other.

“We know from a lot of these studies that birds – grouse in particular – do respond to development,” Kosciuch said. “But we can’t say what aspect of development. … You could not necessarily conclude that the observed pattern was due to the tallness of the structure.”

Kosciuch says the information could help guide management strategies for species like sage grouse.

The study will be published in the Wildlife Society Bulletin.