Every April, the lengthening days triggers something in the brains of male Sharp-tailed Grouse causing them to start dancing...They return to their leks—a term for the dancing grounds of grouse species. With hormones raging, they do their best and most dramatic display for the females lurking around the edges, pretending not to watch. Males fight other males in dramatic flurries, but more often than not, confrontation ends in "Mexican standoffs," birds just facing off and staring at one another until one splits.
I'm in the blind 45 minutes before sunrise, and the grouse really rev up about 15 minutes before the sun peaks above the hayfield horizon. At one point, a Northern Harrier swoops in for a look...She's not interested in grouse for a meal...too big for her rodent-sized appetite.
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