Gunnison Sage-Grouse and Snowy Sage

This morning was spent scouting a Gunnison Sage-Grouse lek where David Brown and I hope to film and record for the next two days. We arrived with our host pre-dawn in order to observe the lek from a distance and get an idea of where the best spots would be to place our blind. Despite arriving in total darkness and having received a bit of snow over night we heard birds displaying shortly after we arrived – a good sign that we are near the peak of the breeding season for these birds. As time went on we began to be able to make out individual birds and saw that at least 10 males were present. Unfortunately, just before dawn, a Golden Eagle made a pass at the birds, sending them far off into the sage. Unlike other prairie grouse species, Gunnison Sage-Grouse generally will not return to their lek on a day when they have been disturbed. Knowing this, we left the lek and explored the area a bit and were lucky to find several individuals displaying near a road on a nearby ridge.

Later in the morning we selected a spot for a blind and set up our gear. Hopefully the eagle will leave the grouse to their business for the two days we will be aloud on the lek!


A male Gunnison Sage Grouse at the height of its display. Gunnsion County, Colorado. (Gerrit Vyn)
A male Gunnison Sage Grouse at the height of its display. Gunnsion County, Colorado. (Gerrit Vyn)



Adult male Gunnison Sage-Grouse  in flight. Gunnison County, Colorado. (Gerrit Vyn)
Adult male Gunnison Sage-Grouse in flight. Gunnison County, Colorado. (Gerrit Vyn)



A male Gunnison Sage Grouse (Centrocercus minimus) displaying on a snowy ridge after being displaced from its lek by a hunting Golden Eagle. Gunnsion County, Colorado. April. (Gerrit Vyn)
A male Gunnison Sage Grouse (Centrocercus minimus) displaying on a snowy ridge after being displaced from its lek by a hunting Golden Eagle. Gunnsion County, Colorado. April. (Gerrit Vyn)


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