OUTside Connection Column April 29, 2009

Grouse strut their stuff

Here’s something good to grouse about.

Sage grouse, that is, and the Mountain (also called the Columbian) Sharp-tailed grouse, which offer some of the most curious and fascinating entertainment during their spring breeding rituals.

Which, by the way, are occurring now on a lek (a grouse display ground) near you.

Listen and watch to them booming, strutting, and flashing their best footwork to impress the ladies.  No, it’s not the local night club, although it’s uncomfortably easy to draw a comparison between puffed-up birds and the human antics of dance-floor courtship.

The Grand Valley Audubon Society offers a weekend field trip Saturday and Sunday to watch one of Nature’s most-enduring courtship rituals.

It’s your chance to be a bird-brained voyeur.

WHAT: Grand Valley Audubon Society two-day Sage grouse field trip

WHEN: Leaving Grand Junction 9 a.m. Saturday and returning 4 p.m. (or so) Sunday

WHERE: Craig, Hayden, other stops in Northwest Colorado.

WHO: Any interested birder, no matter your level of expertise.

HOW: Call John Toolen, 985-9089. Car pooling strongly recommended.


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