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Thirty-five Borah High School juniors and seniors got up early -- really early (4 a.m.) -- on a hazy May morning to go on a field trip to learn about sage-grouse in the Owyhee Mountains. Science teacher Kris Stone said so many students wanted to go she had to turn some away. "They were all really eager to do some outdoors learning," she said as kids gathered at Borah High.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service set up the tour to educate high school students about sage-grouse and other natural resource issues in the Owyhee Mountains, about an hour south of Boise. The first stop was a sage-grouse lek near the little Basque town of Oreana on the front side of the Owyhee Mountains.
As the school bus pulled up to a stop by the lek, at least 25 male sage-grouse were running around and strutting, with their bright yellow breasts all puffed up, trying to put on a show for a female.
"This is called the Owyhee Canyonlands," says Jason Pyron, who works on Candidate Species Conservation and Conservation Partnerships for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). "The birds come back here year after year to the same spot, called a lek, to put on a mating display and then mate with the hens."Read More