The Bizarre Sage Grouse in April

Posted on: April 22nd, 2011 By: Kurt Johnson

Sage Grouse - Spring Creek Ranch, Jackson Hole, WY
This month is outstanding for wildlife watching in general, but one of the highlights is the unique courtship behavior by our local sage grouse. Males and females gather in specific areas called leks, and the males work very hard to impress the female grouse by prancing around, raising their sharp tail feathers, beating their wings and inflating their yellow air sacs on their neck.  Throughout this entire display they are vocalizing loudly with a voice that is unlike anything else in nature.  We have seen this behavior several times on recent safaris and this image was taken earlier this week. 

I’m also happy to report that the bald eagle nest on Spring Creek Ranch’s property remains active and the female was observed today laying low on her nest, likely incubating eggs.  This nest has had varying success in fledgling eaglets in recent years, so we remain hopeful that it will be successful this year.

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