Dance with me
Tours provide public a chance to view greater sage-grouse mating dance
Colorado Parks and Wildlife and Conservation Colorado, along with several partner organizations, are offering an opportunity for the public to watch greater sage-grouse on their mating grounds, or leks.
The tours in northwest Colorado will be offered March 28 to April 13, and reservations are required because the tours are limited to 14 people and usually sell out in advance.
Cost of the tours are $50 per person and require some hiking to reach the viewing locations, which are on private land.
Other partners in the endeavor are Rocky Mountain Wild, The Wilderness Society and Friends of Northwest Colorado.
For information, dates, times, and reservations, go online to conservationco.org and click on Sage Grouse Tours.
“These tours provide a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to view greater sage-grouse performing their mating dance in northwest Colorado,” said Watchable Wildlife Coordinator Trina Romero of Colorado Parks and Wildlife. “If you are interested in observing the ritual up close in a comfortable environment and without disturbing the birds, I strongly encourage you to sign up for the tour.”
Because the grouse are especially vulnerable to disturbance when on the leks, Parks and Wildlife provides a viewing trailer where tour participants can sit inside and view the grouse without disturbing them.
Watching male sage-grouse spread their spiked tail feathers and pop their large air sacs is a visual treat for birdwatchers or any wildlife enthusiast. Each spring, Colorado draws hundreds of grouse enthusiasts from around the world to observe the mating display.
It’s not necessary to be an avid birder to enjoy the show, Romero said.
“We encourage those that may not be avid bird watchers to take advantage of this opportunity,” she said. “It’s a unique experience and is one that you will remember for a lifetime.”
Because of the nature of sage-grouse and the remote location of the viewing sites, there is no guarantee birds will be visible or how long they will remain on the lek.