Quoth the sage grouse, "Nevermore."
Opponents of poisoning ravens to save sage grouse are right. Human disruption of habitat is the ultimate cause of low grouse numbers. But that doesn't fix it.
Ravens thrive because we provide road kill on highways, refuse in landfills, picnic lunches in parks, nesting platforms in trees we nurture, hunting perches on power poles. Simultaneously, we diminish grouse habitat with grain fields, overgrazing, fires, cheat grass, suburbs, golf courses, highways and reservoirs.
Unless we remove these "improvements" to the land and restore native sage-steppe habitats (takes about 50 years,) shouldn't we accept our responsibility to reduce artificially elevated raven numbers?
It is time to get over our romantic infatuation with "pristine wilderness" and begin dealing with reality. The Little Bo Peep philosophy of management (leave 'em alone and …) doesn't work in a human-dominated world. Just because we arrogantly mismanaged wildlife 100 years ago doesn't mean we can't do it right today. Protecting an abundant and increasing species that is causing the decline of an uncommon and decreasing species is willful blindness bordering on arrogance.
By the way, ravens have become a major predator of hatchling desert tortoises, too.
Ron Spomer, Boise