Sharp-tailed grouse 001
We made our annual trip to the sharp-tailed grouse “lek” to watch the male grouse dance and fight (basically show off so the females will pick them for mating). You have to be there at first light. The early morning sun makes the feathers glow.
Sharp-tailed Grouse 002
They begin by puffing up their neck and cooing.
Sharp-tailed Grouse 003
Then they dance spinning around in circles and stamping their feet making a one of a kind sound.
Sharp-tailed Grouse 004
I took this photo with the wide-angle lens right before he ran into the side of the blind in his excitement.
Sharp-tailed Grouse 005
Intermittently fights break out.
Sharp-tailed Grouse 006
It was hard to tell who was winning.
Sharp-tailed Grouse 007
Apparently there are no rules of engagement as this one kicked his adversary when he was down.
Sharp-tailed Grouse 008
After the kicking and fighting they seem to be friends again.
Sharp-tailed Grouse 009
The dancing lasts for about two hours before they fly away.
Sharp-tailed Grouse 010
The “lek” is in the middle of a hay field and several generations have been using this exact area for over 50 years.
Sharp-tailed Grouse 011
They dance in an area that is about 50 feet by 50 feet.
Sharp-tailed Grouse 012
It doesn’t matter if we set our blind right in the middle of the dancing field, they will dance all around us like we weren’t even there. Many times they came within feet of our blinds.