Two people stand on a grassy hillside in the King Range Wilderness, overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
BLM
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
Wildhorses at Sand Creek Barrel Springs Byway at sunset.  Photo by Laurie Sada Upper Wall Canyon creek.  Photo by B. Parrott Windmill at Sunset in Surprise Valley Sunset reflection on Upper Lake in Surprise Valley.
California
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Surprise Field Office

Wildlife
 

  Lizzare climing up large bolder

 

Program

The Surprise Field Office is home to a wide variety of wildlife species. Knowing where these species live and how they interact insures that future generations will be able to enjoy these animals in the same way we do today. The management of these species is dependent on the management of the ecosystems in which they live. The dominant ecosystem of this area is the sagebrush steppe. Sage steppe habitat provides important habitat for such species as the Greater sage-grouse, bighorn sheep, pronghorn antelope, pygmy rabbits and golden eagles. Many predators also call the sage steppe habitat home including mountain lions, coyotes, and bob cats. These prey on a variety of small and large animals including black-tailed jack rabbits, mule deer, and many different rodents. Managing wildlife at the ecosystem level can benefit multiple species as well as the overall health of the land and water.  Wildlife biologists work to ensure the health of diverse species with the use of water developments, fences, vegetation and other improvements that benefit wildlife. 

Partnerships

The Surprise Field Office has partnered with other offices, agencies and organizations to ensure the health of land and animals on a larger scale. The Sage Steppe Ecosystem Restoration Strategy is a combined effort with BLM, Forest Service and NRCS to restore and maintain healthy sage steppe ecosystem on public and private lands in northwest Nevada and northeast California. View the EIS and Record of Decision.  Many projects accomplished on the field office are a result of close coordination with the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW), the California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG), as well as various user groups including the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, the California Deer Association, the Mule Deer Foundation, and Bighorns Unlimited.   

Coyote standing in snowy sagebrush landscape

Bighorn sheep climbing a steep rocky slope

Viewing

The Surprise Field Office offers ample opportunities to view wildlife. There are some steps to take that may enhance the wildlife viewing experience.  One simple way along roads is to stay in your vehicle. This will often keep wildlife from flushing since they often don’t perceive a threat from a person in a vehicle as opposed to someone outside a vehicle. Make sure to be safe and pull off the road you are on. When walking, reduce your impact on their habitat; wear neutral colors, move slow, steady and quietly keeping unnecessary conversation to a minimum. Increase your chances by going out at the right time of day, some animals sleep during the heat of the day and come out to forage or hunt for food during dawn or dusk hours. Bring your binoculars and/or a spotting scope, watching wildlife from a distance may increase the chance of viewing animals without disturbing them. The more you can blend with an animal’s surrounding the more successful the viewing experience will be.  



Links

Surprise Field Office Wildlife:

Birds of the Surprise Field Office

Mammals of the Surprise Filed Office

Basin & Range Birding Trail

 

Sage Grouse:

Sage Grouse Conservation

Great Basin Region Planning Strategy

NDOW

USFWS - Sage Grouse


Male sage grouse with chest puffed out and tail feathers spread, in a mating strut