Sharp-tailed Grouse Lek and birding near Weiser, Idaho

A few days ago, Alex and I and our friends Jack, Eddie, and Oly traveled north to Weiser, Idaho to join a local bird club on a field trip to see a Sharp-tailed Grouse Lek. A lek is an area where male grouse gather to display to female grouse.  These leks are often used for many years.  The lek we observed was one of many on the Hixon-Sharptail Preserve.  It was a very, very windy and cold morning, which had the Sharp-tailed Grouse hiding a bit more downhill than usual.  Eventually, six males appeared where they are usually seen, and began going crazy, bowing their heads and stomping their feet at eachother, with their white tails pointed straight up in the air. Take a look at this video that shows the display well.  A few females were watching nearby.  We moved to a better vantage point to find about 20 total Sharp-tailed Grouse huddled up against bushes and each other, getting up to dance every ten minutes or so.

5 Sharp-tailed Grouse displaying (photo by Anna Fasoli)
close-up of Sharp-tailed Grouse display (photo by Alex Lamoreaux)
Sharp-tailed Grouse (photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

Sharp-tailed Grouse (photo by Anna Fasoli)

We continued on with the birding club to a few birding hotspots in the area. We picked up Cinnamon Teal for the year and state, and also Wilson’s Snipe, Barn Swallow, and Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs for the state. We also came across a few Great-horned Owl nests, one of which was on the ground under a hay shed! Thanks to Cheryl and the birding club for letting us tag along!!!

Great Horned Owl nestlings and dead Chukar on left (photo by Anna Fasoli)
Great Horned Owl (photo by Anna Fasoli)
Great Horned Owl on nest (photo by Alex Lamoreaux)