Sunday, April 6, 2014

Sage Grouse on their Leks

The sage grouse are lekking again and with the area between Highway 33 and the Egin/Hamer road open for travel, I have been able to observe this magnificent bird in action again.  But their population continues to decline.  I am working with the Idaho Fish and Game to try to locate new leks or traditional leks that might be used by birds.  I have found a few leks with a few birds, but the large leks with over 50 to 100 birds on them now have from 20 to 0 birds on them.  Here are a few of the show-off birds from this last week.

Last weekend we had a great snow storm and with one day left of spring break, I started searching for birds on leks.  On a lek that had 40 birds on it last year, I found only 23.  This handsome dude attempted to attract one of the three females.

He even battled other male to take control of the center of the lek where the females look for the king of the lek.

Soon a female showed up, but with the snow and cold, was not ready to start her family this year.  She showed up, but did not get too close to the ruler.

The battle bruises can be seen on the air sacks of this warrior that I found yesterday as he tries to attract a female.  

This gentleman has beautiful large combs above his eyes as he sits on top of a ridge with eight other males but no females are visiting them.

I saw a lot of different birds, elk, deer, coyote and even a mouse while spending a wonderful wild day in the wilds of Idaho


eileeninmd said...

they are cool birds, it must be neat to see the interaction.. Great series of photos!

Mary Cromer said...

Oh My Goodness Bill, I love when you post these kinds of shares, absolutely stunning images, really a wonderful selection!!!

Janie said...

Beautiful photos! We have several leks around here, but we haven't gotten out to see them in a few years. They're always fun to watch.

Linda said...

Lovely series!

Jo said...

What beautiful birds! I have never seen such flamboyance in a grouse! Is a lek their nest or roosting place? thanks for your visit to my blog this week. It was good to see you again. Greetings. Jo