San Miguel Basin Gunnison Sage-grouse working group

Male Gunnison sage-grouse courtship display. Photo by Helen Richardson, the Denver Post.

Male Gunnison sage-grouse courtship display. Photo by Helen Richardson, the Denver Post.


There are fewer than 3,600 of these charismatic birds left in the wild. Today this federally threatened specie is found only in southwestern Colorado and southeastern Utah. For centuries, people believed there was only one type of sage-grouse in the west. Then in the late 1970s, some scientists noticed that the birds in the Gunnison Basin were smaller, had more white on the tail, and had genetic differences. In 2000, the Gunnison sage-grouse was declared a separate species from the Greater sage-grouse. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) recognizes the Gunnison sage-grouse as a red-listed, or globally endangered, species.  In 2006, the Audubon Society listed the Gunnison sage-grouse as one of the 10 most endangered birds in North America.  


To work together and coordinate efforts to ensure a thriving population of Gunnison sage-grouse in a healthy, conserved sagebrush ecosystem while helping to ensure a sustainable community in the San Miguel Basin, CO.


Landowners, concerned citizens, and staff or members of:  Black Canyon Audubon Society, San Miguel County, the Colorado Division of Wildlife, the Bureau of Land Management, universities, the U.S. Forest Service, Sheep Mountain Alliance, the Natural Resource Conservation Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and other organizations.


  • Conserve Sage-Grouse habitat by writing grants, raising funds, and coordinating the donation or purchase of land and/or conservation easements

  • Plan and coordinate habitat improvement projects

  • Provide comments on land use decisions that effect Gunnison Sage-Grouse

  • Help people learn more about Gunnison Sage-Grouse and the threats to its survival

  • Hold working group and committee meetings to share information and to plan and implement strategies


View the male grouse's elaborate courtship display in this 30-second clip. Thanks to the Cornell University Laboratory of Ornithology for the footage and to David Oyster and Ryan Wilson for editing.


how you can help

  • Get on our e-mail list to stay informed. Contact the coordinator at 970-316-1650 or e-mail Leigh

  • Attend Working Group meetings, field trips or work days, see our Events page for a schedule

  • Donate to help protect and improve sage-grouse habitat

Learn More