Chicken Dance

Chicken Dance
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Uploaded by Liron Gertsman on 31 Jan 2020 in Vancouver

Last year, I had the incredible experience of watching Sharp-tailed Grouse on a lek. A lek is a place where male birds gather to collectively dance and compete for mating rights with the females. Sharp-tailed Grouse typically arrive at their lek in darkness before sunrise, and will dance and display through much of the morning hours. These birds are notoriously flighty and sensitive to disturbance, so in order to observe them respectfully, I scouted out the location the evening prior, and set up a hide outside the perimeter of the lek a bit before sunset. I returned at night, hiking in the darkness and arriving at the blind at around 3:30AM. Sitting in silence in the hide, I heard the first birds arriving in the dark at around 5AM. What followed was one of the most incredible experiences of my entire birding and photography career. The sounds and sights of dancing grouse was one of the most spectacular things I've witnessed in nature. Here, a male grouse struts past where I'm hidden in my blind as he dances.

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