A study by the Wyoming chapter of the Wildlife Society found that sage grouse don’t do well if there’s human activity near their winter habitats.
The group’s president, Tony Mong, says it’s well known that sage grouse avoid things like oil and gas wells, but they now know that the birds are also sensitive to people doing things nearby.
He says that knowledge should guide the energy industry’s activities in sage grouse areas.
“If they can decrease or minimize let’s say the number of visits to a well … that will minimize the impacts to sage grouse on winter range,” Mong said.
He says sage grouse conservation often focuses on leks, or breeding grounds, but protecting key winter habitats is also crucial.