Entry in progress—B.P.

(Oxford English Dictionary)

*sage cock* n.

1840 A. Wislizenus *Ausflug nach Felsen-Gebirgen 1839* ix. 49 Sage cock, cock of the plains.

*sage hen* n. = *sage cock* n.

1843 J. Williams *Jrnl.* 27 July in *Narr. Tour to Oregon* 14 The sage hen is found here also.

1861 G. F. Berkeley *Eng. Sportsman* ii. 25 There is a certain bird of the grouse species..called the ‘sage hen’.

1917 E. H. Forbush in T. G. Pearson *Birds Amer.* II. 29 Sage Hen..Cock of the Plains..exceeds all other Grouse in size, with the possible exception of the great Black Grouse.. of Europe.

22 March 1866, Louisville (KY) *Daily Journal*, “Nicknames,” pg. 1, col. 4:

Nevada, Sage State.

(...)

The natives of these States are:

... Nevada, sage hens; ...

7 April 1866, *The Daily Cleveland Herald* (Cleveland, OH), “Geographical Nicknames,” pg. 2, col. 2:

... Nevada, Sage State; ...

(...)

... Nevada, sage hens: ...

Google Books

*U. S.
An Index to the United States of America*

Compiled by Malcolm Townsend

Boston, MA: D. Lothrop Company

1890

Pg. 77:

NICKNAMES APPLIED TO THE PEOPLE OF THE STATES.

(...)

Nevada...

*Sage-hens*...From the game bird,

*Tetrao Artimesia*[called by Audubon “The Cock of the Plains,"] from frequenting and feeding on the sage that grows in profusion. The bird is of handsome plumage, and almost the size of a hen turkey.

3 June 1896,

*The Morning Herald*(Lexington, KY), “The Nicknames of Twenty-Eight States of the Union,” pg. 6, col. 3:

Nevadans are “Sage Hens.”