Spring strut


It’s official: spring has arrived in western Wyoming, as evidenced by the number of Greater Sage-Grouse on the lek I visited this morning. Leks are traditional strutting/breeding grounds for this biggest of our native grouse species. I usually set April 1 as my target date to visit leks, but with warm temperatures and most snow already gone from our sagebrush steppe, spring is early this year, and so are the grouse.

The photos I’m posting today are all of adult male grouse, which weigh up to about 8 pounds. (Sorry about the watermarks on the photos, but I’ve been finding my photos posted in various places without attribution or permission.)

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently decided to list sage grouse as a candidate for Endangered Species Protection (the “warranted but precluded” ruling). Sage grouse in western Wyoming are still abundant. State officials estimate Wyoming’s sage grouse population at 207,560, far more than any other state. Idaho’s population is estimated at 98,700. Although sage grouse populations in other areas have suffered declines, grouse are still game birds available for harvest here.

3 thoughts on “Spring strut”

  1. These birds are so cool! I've never seen one. Are these on your place, Cat, or just in the neighborhood? I've never really thought of Wyoming as an April destination, but maybe next year….

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  2. These grouse are on leks in our neighborhood, but not on our place. If you get up this way any time during March and April, it usually possible to find grouse on leks. They are beautiful, and the sounds they make are amazing. I usually visit different leks three or four times every spring, just to watch and listen.

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