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Wind Energy Development Map: Sagebrush Obligate Species Oregon/Washington BLM



Wind Energy Development Map: Sagebrush Obligate Species

Pygmy Rabbit

Pygmy rabbit

The pygmy rabbit (Brachylagus idahoensis) is the smallest of any North American rabbit species. It was first described as Lepus idahoensis in 1891 by Meriam (Meriam 1891). It is endemic to sagebrush habitats in the Great Basin and adjacent intermountain areas and typically occupies tall and dense sagebrush patches. Pygmy rabbits are dietary specialists on big sagebrush. They are considered a keystone species in big sagebrush communities because they don't thrive in habitats dominated by other shrub species, they exhibit a unique fossorial behavior, other species of vertebrates and invertebrates use their extensive burrow system, and they provide a reliable food supply for terrestrial and avian predators (Wilson and Ruff 1999). This species is locally threatened in parts of its range by alteration of sagebrush steppe habitat resulting in fragmented and isolated populations vulnerable to extinction.

Mule Deer

Mule deer

They are usually dark gray-brown and they have a white patch on their rump, along with a small, black-tipped tail. Mule deer are often confused with their close cousins, white tail deer, but they are different in seveal ways. They carry their tails in a droopy position, while white tailed deer carry their white tails in an upright position. Mule deer also move differently than white tailed deer; when startled, they seem to jump, with all four feet hitting the ground together in what looks like a series of leaps. Mule deer also have very large ears and larger antlers than white tailed deer.

Mule deer can live in many different environments, and they are one of the most plentiful large mammals in North America. They are found from the Arctic Circle in the Yukon to northern Mexico! You can often see them grazing on BLM rangelands in winter, where they can reach edible grasses under the snow and nibble on sagebrush. They have large ears, which are constantly moving.

Mule Deer summer forage is chiefly herbaceous plants, but also blackberry, huckleberry, salal, and thimbleberry; winter browse includes twigs of Douglas-fir, cedar, yew, aspen, willow, dogwood, serviceberry, chokecherry, juniper, bitterbrush and sagebrush. They also eat apples and crops where available.

Golden Eagle

Golden eagle

Dark brown with a golden or light brown nape and dark eyes and beak. Legs are feathered to toes. Plumages of both sexes are similar. Immature birds usually lack the golden feathers, and have white patches near the base of the tail and sometimes on the wings. Females are larger than males but there is overlap in some measurements.

Found throughout the Northern Hemisphere, including North America, Europe, Asia, and northern Africa. In North America the majority are found west of Texas. They are occasionally seen in the Adirondacks and southern Appalachians. Prefers the open terrain of deserts, mountains, plateaus and steppes cut by canyons, gullies or outcrops. They favor habitats where upwind drafts help them takeoff and soar.