Sage Grouse Dancing

When the intermountain shrub-steppe is transitioning from winter to spring, the Greater Sage SAGR butt 6-apr06Grouse begin to dance on leks. The dance of the sage grouse is something you should go see. When visiting a lek you should behave properly. Your local Audubon chapter or birder friends may know of leks close to your home that you could visit, but going to a grouse festival is another way to get yourself on a lek.

When you are sitting out in the cold, pre-dawn winds of the intermountain desert (toes growing colder as the snow on your boots melts) and you can hear (but not yet see) the swish – swish – PLOOP! of dancing grouse. You will know why you came. In a small, vicarious way you are participating in a ritual that is as old as the sagebrush steppe and your soul will be enriched by it. The grouse dance will enter your body through your eyes and ears, but it doesn’t have to leave.

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