Sharp-tailed Grouse…

Sunday morning my husband and myself, along with some friends arose at 4:30 am to be at a Sharp-tailed Grouse lek an hour before sunrise…

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Arriving an hour before sunrise with stars still in the sky and a start to a beautiful day…

People wishing to view sharpies dancing must arrive at the lek an hour before sunrise in order not to disturb the grouse.

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Beautiful sunrise on the lek…

The mating routine of Sharp-tailed Grouse involves males displaying communally at a traditional site (one used year after year). This site is known as a “lek.” Males compete for mates by performing a ritualized dance in conjunction with calling (often a booming sound) and inflating purplish air sacs along their necks. Females approach the edge of the lek, observe and eventually select a dance participant to mate with.

Male grouse hold territories on the lek with the dominant male usually claiming the most central position. The central male also normally mates with the most females. In general, a male’s success at attracting females is highly correlated with his position on the lek. This leads to relatively few males siring most of the young.

Above information from here…

Here are just a few pictures from that morning…

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Grouse…

 

We spotted this little lady on the side of the road by Swiftcurrent in Many Glaciers…

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Cool Facts

  • Two distinct subspecies of Spruce Grouse exist. “Franklin’s Grouse,” D. c. franklinii, found in the southwestern portion of the range, in the mountains from Alberta southward, has an all black tail with small white spots on the feathers overlying it. The northeastern subspecies, D. c. canadensis, has a rufous tip to the tail and lacks white spots above the tail.

  • The Spruce Grouse’s crop can store up to ten percent of the bird’s body weight in food, to be digested at night.

  • The Spruce Grouse’s gastrointestinal organs change with seasonal shifts in diet. In winter, when the bird must eat more food to maintain its mass and energy balance, the gizzard grows by about 75 percent, and other sections of the digestive tract increase in length by about 40 percent.

  • For more info please visit here…

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