Air Traffic Control for The Birds
This Bird’s Comeback Will Be Traced Back to The Ground and Quite Possibly Fence Markers
With its trademark mating dance and distinctive call, the Sage Grouse was once a regular fixture on the plains of the American and Canadian west. Plump, spotted in patches, and slightly smaller than a Wild Turkey, the Sage Grouse lek population has been on the decline since 1965. It’s now down 66%, which threatens to place this bird on the endangered species list here in the United States. Its declines have been driven by factors such as loss of habitat, power lines and Barbed Wire fences.
Organizations such as the Sage Grouse Initiative are working with ranchers and conservationists to help preserve over 7 million acres across 11 western states and Canadian provinces. Those partnerships are a testament to cooperation, and the power of sustainable ranching.
In addition to these efforts, the Sage Grouse Initiative works with ranchers to tag barbed wire fences with Sage Grouse fence markers. Fencing protects wetlands and habitat, but it can also be a hazard for the Sage Grouse. The simple act of fence tagging can have an incredibly large, positive, impact on the Sage Grouse population. Because the Sage Grouse is a low flying bird that doesn’t pay particularly close attention to what is in front of it, the deployment of small reflective fence markers can reduce Sage Grouse fatal fence strikes or injuries by up to 83%. The fence markers need to be placed roughly every three feet and are designed to wobble in the wind. When this motion is combined with a small reflective marker strip, it produces an effective warning that encourages the Sage Grouse to fly higher, thus avoiding a potentially deadly hazard – a barbed wire fence. Think of it as air traffic control for this class of bird.
Pexco's Sage Grouse Fence Visibility Markers are inexpensive, small plastic tabs, which can be deployed by ranchers or volunteers in order to make an effective deterrent for the Sage Grouse. Many community organizations have found affixing fence markers to existing fencing is a particularly good project for young teens. It encourages them to spend quality time outdoors with their peers, while providing them with an opportunity to make a contribution to Sage Grouse conservation efforts in their local community.
Fence marking is no less rewarding for healthy adults who want to spend some quality time outdoors hiking through the plains helping to preserve the life of a grassland icon. If you would like to get involved in the effort to save the Sage Grouse, I encourage you to contribute your time, your talent, or your treasure.
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