Sharp-tailed Grouse Lek

by Bryce W. Robinson


Yesterday, I had the privilege of getting up at 4 AM to join Jay Carlisle and Heidi Ware on a trip to visit a Sharp-tailed Grouse lek in western Idaho. We arrived on the lek before sunrise, just in time to hear the beginning dances of the lekking grouse. As the sun rose the grouse surrounded us, chucking in unison and stamping their feet.

If you’ve never been to a Sharp-tailed Grouse lek, you must. It is a bizarre performance as the birds face off with a nemesis to exhibit their fitness and attract the attention of a lady.

The peculiarity of this display is reason enough to ensure that open natural landscapes, such as the sagebrush steppe in western Idaho is preserved. Spread the word and the images of natural wonders such as these grouse, so that even those not so interested in wildlife will recognize the benefit of conserving the wild world.