Audubon monthly meeting to focus on ‘The Sagebrush Sea’


By John Porco

Special to The PREVIEW

The Weminuche Audubon Society will hold its regular monthly meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 21, in the Senior Dining Room at the Ross Aragon Community Center.

Set up and socializing begins at 6 p.m., with the meeting starting at 6:30 p.m. Refreshments will be served.

The program will feature an episode from the PBS “Nature” series titled “The Sagebrush Sea.” It’s been called “The Big Empty” — an immense sea of sagebrush that once stretched 500,000 square miles across North America, exasperating thousands of westward-bound travelers as an endless place through which they had to pass to reach their destinations.

Yet it’s far from empty, as those who look closely will discover. In this ecosystem anchored by the sage, eagles and antelope, badgers and lizards, rabbits, wrens, owls, prairie dogs, songbirds, hawks and migrating birds of all description make their homes.

For one bird, however, it is a year-round home, as it has been for thousands of years. The greater sage-grouse relies on the sage for everything and is found no place else, but its numbers are in decline. Two hundred years ago, there were as many as 16 million sage grouse; today, there may be fewer than 200,000.

The full version of this story is available in the print edition and e-edition of the Pagosa Springs SUN. Subscribe today by calling (970)264-2100 or click here.