Check out other Bird pictures

My main blog; http://wildinidaho.blogspot.com has many other pictures of birds and other wildlife.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Sharp-tailed Grouse active on their leks


One of the greatest shows on earth is the dancing of the Columbian Sharp-tailed Grouse in the Moody Creek area of Madison County.  They will fly or walk into the lek and start putting on a show.  I love to watch their dance.


The males puff up their purple air sacks on their neck and their yellow eye brows stand up while they dance trying to attract a female.


Their dance includes spreading their wings, stomping their feet, rubbing their two main tail feathers together to create a scraping sound, clucking and chirping and moving in circles.


The chief of the lek has to defend his property because most of the females will pick him for mating.  This creates battles between the males that included tearing at each others air sacks, locking beaks, raking the other with their feet and pinning them to the ground.


At times the loser will fly up and land on my truck hood to get away from the violence. They usually do not stay long once they realize I am just three feet away from them.


What an experience to witness these battles over women.  It seems that all species are about the same.


26 comments:

texwisgirl said...

so true. usually with humans, there's alcohol involved. :)

nice shots! i watched a video of this 'dance' once. it was fascinating!

Carol Blackburn said...

LOL, fighting over the females again hey! Oh well, that's life. Great shots Bill. I hope some of my blog friends have visited you since my posting of the hawk as I attached a link to the post. Love your blog.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Amazing! I am sounding like a gushing teenager, but I just can't come up with enough adjectives for your great bird posts. As I said on your other blog thank you for sharing this fabulous birding experience and great pictures.

Gary said...

What a great series!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

mick said...

Very interesting photos and observations of these birds.

Dave said...

I just love the Grouse.... Great post

I am fortunate to live very close to the Red Grouse here in the UK

Smashing species

Fjällripan said...

Great photos! They are beautyful! I have grouses to on my WBW, but black ones :)

eileeninmd said...

Great shots, Bill! I would love to see this show they put on. The colors and display are really cool.

Frank said...

A great show Bill.

Tammy said...

Love that second shot. I didn't know they were hiding those colors.

holdingmoments said...

Great action captures Bill.
Must be great to witness it all first hand.

Sally in WA said...

Great series of the "dance".

Fotokarusellen said...

Agreat post and a beautiful set of images.

Leonora said...

Great photos of a wonderful bird!

BirdingMaine said...

Great series, I love the second photo!

We have the Spruce Grouse that I love looking for during the summer months.

Sandra said...

this was quite a capture, i like the first shot with the whirring wings.

Springman said...

What a show! That second shot blown up a couple clicks is amazing. The ferocity of animals compeating for mates is quite a spectacle. Now we have craigslist if we want to make a spectacle of ourselves!

Marias Teater said...

I always have something else in my mind when I read "Madison County" (something with Brigdes, you know). You took fantastic shots of the beginning of the "romance" in a bird-world, starting really dramatically as a competition for a mate. Really great post!

bailey-road.com said...

Fantastic shots Bill! I love the yellow eyebrows!

Sondra said...

well its a battle of survival of the species too...Awesome photography!

Pat Ulrich said...

Cool shots -- how awesome to see the bright colors on their head and neck!

troutbirder said...

That is a spectacular show they put on all right. Thanks for sharing it, Bill. :)

JM said...

What a fantastic bird this is. The second shot is amazing!

Hilke Breder said...

Absolutely stunning photos, Bill! I would love to see a spectacle like this!

Inger-M said...

Great action shots!

Ryan Ankeny said...

The grouse in flight is a great shot!