Clait Braun sounded like a man in confessional when I reached him to talk about Gunnison sage grouse. The retired leader of bird research for Colorado’s wildlife department from 1973 to 1999, Braun was part of the team of biologists and geneticists who successfully made the case in 2000 to recognize the species as distinct from the larger and more widely distributed Greater sage grouse. He’s also been witness to populations of Gunnison sage grouse disappearing across western Colorado and southern Utah due to loss and fragmentation of sagebrush habitat from the spread of houses, oil and gas wells and livestock.
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