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2023 Canada Conservation Stories: Greater Sage-Grouse Specimen Set

2023 Canada Conservation Stories: Greater Sage-Grouse Specimen Set

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2023 Canada Conservation Stories: Greater Sage-Grouse Specimen Set

Each spring, the male greater sage-grouse puts on quite a show: it fans out its plumage, puffs and pops its chest, and struts its stuff in hopes of attracting a mate. This elaborate courtship display has been captured on the 2023 specimen dollar, which highlights the endangered status of a species that now occupies just 7% of its historical range in Canada. With fewer than 250 remaining in the wild, Canada’s greater sage-grouse population has been the focus of collaborative efforts to support the recovery of both the grassland species and its sagebrush habitat. Those efforts include a captive breeding and reintroduction program led by the Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo; as of early 2022, 187 conservation-born sage-grouse have been released onto protected lands in southern Alberta and Saskatchewan, home to only five known communal mating grounds (leks). Hope for the greater sage-grouse’s recovery grows, as ongoing research and population management strategies are working to slow the population’s decline and boost its chances of survival.

In 2012, Canada’s greater sage-grouse population was estimated at just 93 to 138 individuals. Habitat loss and degradation due to human activities are key reasons for the decline of this species, which was designated as endangered in Canada in 1998 and is protected under the Species at Risk Act (SARA).

There are only five known leks (traditional dancing/mating grounds) in Canada: two in Saskatchewan and three in Alberta. From March until May, large numbers (up to 70 or more) of sage-grouse congregate on these leks, where the males compete for the best spots to stage their courtship displays for visiting females.

The male’s efforts to attract a mate involve a series of struts, coos, wing swooshes, raised feathers, and the inflation of two yellow air sacs on its chest. When deflated, those sacs make a loud “pop”—like the uncorking of a champagne bottle—and the sound can be heard up to 3 kilometres away!

Sagebrush is critical to the survival of the greater sage-grouse, which was named for the silver-tinged shrub. About 60% of an adult’s summer diet and 100% of its winter diet consists of sage leaves, stems and buds. The aromatic shrub also serves as a nesting site and provides cover from predators.

Designed by Canadian artist David Caesar, the set-exclusive specimen dollar features a depiction of a male greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) performing its elaborate courtship display in its sagebrush (genus Artemisia) habitat. The obverse features the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II by Susanna Blunt. The obverse also bears a special marking that includes four pearls symbolizing the four effigies that have graced Canadian coins and the double date of her reign.

Item Number: 206339
Mintage: 30,000
Finish: Specimen
Artist: David Caesar (reverse dollar), Susanna Blunt (obverse)

Composition Weight Diameter Edge
2 Dollars Outer ring: Nickel-plated steel
Inner core: Brass-plated aluminum bronze
6.99 g 28.03 mm Interrupted serrations
1 Dollar Brass-plated steel 6.27 g 26.50 mm
50 cents Nickel-plated steel 6.90 g 27.13 mm Reeded
25 cents 4.44 g 23.88 mm
10 cents 1.75 g 18.06 mm
5 cents 3.95 g 21.20 mm Plain

Special Features:
• Fourth set in the series! Add the 2023 instalment to your growing collection of specimen sets! This is the fourth set in a series that is helping to raise awareness of wildlife conservation and species recovery efforts in Canada.
• A world exclusive! The Royal Canadian Mint is the only mint that issues an annual set of coins in a specimen finish (brilliant/frosted relief against a lined background). Every denomination of Canadian circulation coinage is represented in this Specimen Set, which continues to be one of the most popular sets produced each year.
• Limited-edition Specimen Dollar! The set’s specimen dollar features a portrait of the greater sage-grouse, an endangered species that inhabits the same grassland ecosystem as the swift fox featured in 2022.
• Packaged for easy viewing! All six coins—$2, the special-themed $1, 50 cents, 25 cents, 10 cents and 5 cents—are presented side-by-side in an elegant book-style packaging, with a removable lens that has been designed to further enhance your enjoyment of these coins.
• For nature and wildlife lovers! Inspire a child to collect coins: this affordable set’s educational theme makes it a great gift for animal lovers of all ages, and its educational theme makes it the perfect starter set for a new collector.

The specimen set comes in elegant book-style packaging, with a removable lens that allows for easy viewing of your coins.

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