Habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation is resulting from conversion to roads, reservoirs, livestock-grazing, hay and other crops, real estate developments, powerlines, land treatments and increased deer populations1,4. Many winter sites are directly threatened and being enclosed by urbanisation3. Severely fragmented populations have low genetic variation and the recent reintroduction of the disease West Nile virus to the species's range is a concern4,7. Disturbance from scientific study and recreational birdwatchers may cause stress and reduced lek attendance and production1,7,8. Severe winters and potentially droughts may represent survival bottlenecks (e.g. in 1984, less than 10% of sagebrush emerged above the snow3), as may other habitat factors influencing chick survival7. Calls to increase gas prospecting in areas of sagebrush habitat represent a potential future threat.
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