Square Lake Preserve

Wood River Land Trust was able to protect the 320-acre Square Lake Preserve in 2004 thanks to a generous donation by the previous owner. Surrounded on all sides by public land, the preserve protects a large expanse of sagebrush habitat. Square Lake is home to an array of wildlife as well as a sage-grouse mating area located in the meadow. Square Lake Preserve is an example of a sagebrush biome, a complex community of plants and animals. Shaped by climate, fire, floods, and volcanic eruptions, the sagebrush biome covers much of the west. Sagebrush provides habitat for a variety of sagebrush dependent species such as: sage-grouse, Brewer’s sparrow, sage sparrow, sage thrasher, pygmy rabbit, sagebrush vole, pronghorn, sagebrush lizard and more. Greater Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) have inhabited the western United States and southern Canada for more than 10,000 years. The species has declined throughout its native range due to habitat loss caused by over grazing, development, fire, and other human and natural disturbances. The US Geological Survey estimates that over half the historical � sagebrush in the West has been lost since the Ea st Magic Rd 1880s. Sage-grouse are an indicator species—the BLM health of this bird population mirrors the Land overall health of the sagebrush community. YOU
State Land
HWY 75

Early Spring
At dawn and sometimes at dusk, males congregate for several hours on mating grounds called leks. Leks are generally found on open areas in or near sagebrush. To attract a hen, cocks strut, fan their tail feathers, and swell their breasts to reveal bright yellow air sacs. Their wing movements and inflating and deflating air sacs make a “swish-swish-coo-oopoink”sound. After the breeding season, the females and males go their separate ways.
It is important not to disturb the birds, or they may abandon the area. Please remain in your vehicle when viewing this mating ritual. By keeping a safe distance from the lek we all can observe this seasonal ritual.


Sage-grouse eat only sagebrush during the winter, so good winter range must provide grouse access to sagebrush in all snow conditions.

PRE-LAYING Sage-grouse hens occupy sagebrush communities in the weeks prior to laying and incubating their eggs. Their diet is comprised of 50-80% sagebrush and also newly emerging forbs (herbaceous plants). Essential to hens at this stage, forbs are nutritious and may contribute to reproductive success.
NESTING Nests can be located up to 10 miles from the lek site where thick cover of sagebrush and tall grasses shields nests from predators.
Incubation time: 25-27 days Clutch size: 6-9

Late Summer & Fall
Meadows form an important part of brood-rearing habitat in mid-to-late summer. When forbs begin to dry out and lose their nutritional value, sage-grouse broods move to cooler and moderately moist environments where forbs are still available.
ffit Gri Bob edit: cr photo

Height: > 2ft tall Weight: Males ~ 7lb; Females ~ 3-4lbs Lifespan: 6-8 years

Early to mid Summer
Antilocapra americana
BROOD REARING Chicks can walk as soon as they are hatched after which hens generally lead the newly hatched chicks to areas with abundant insects and forbs. The chicks forage on energy and protein-rich insects such as beetles and ants. Later in the season they consume more forbs. Chicks are able to fly short distances in two weeks and in five weeks are capable of sustained flight. Hens and cocks eat mostly forbs and sagebrush leaves during this time.

Other animals that inhabit Square Lake Preserve include:

Pygmy Rabbit
Horned Lark
*state ranked vulnerable

Oreoscoptes montanus

Sage Thrasher
*protected non-game species

Brachylagus idahoensis

Sagebrush Vole

Sagebrush Lizard

Lemmiscus curtatus

Eremophila alpestris

Sceloporus graciosus

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