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for people who care about the West

The iconic bird of the ‘Sagebrush Sea’

A new book shows the life cycle of sage grouse in their natural habitat.


Sage grouse live only in the arid Intermountain West. Vast and austere, this “Sagebrush Sea” is often seen as empty, but it’s actually full of life, and the sage grouse is well adapted to existence there. Still, the species is threatened, and fewer than 400,000 grouse remain.

Noppadol Paothong

In this vibrant collection, Sage Grouse: Icon of the West photographer Noppadol Paothong captures these creatures in their full glory. Spanning the bird’s life cycle, the images highlight its flamboyant courtship dance while revealing aspects of grouse life never before documented. The accompanying text by natural history writer Kathy Love explores the sagebrush ecosystem, the grouse’s history and the perils it faces. Love also describes the conservation efforts supporters are fighting for. The birds’ famous mating display doesn’t just perpetuate the species, she notes: It “may also perpetuate grouse populations by leading humans to care enough to conserve them.”

Sage Grouse: Icon of the West
Photos by Noppadol Paothong, text by Kathy Love
180 pages, hardcover: $45. Laguna Wilderness Press, 2017.