Thursday, May 2, 2013

The snow is going--time to dance: some video of sharptails on their lek

Male Sharp-tailed Grouse resting between sets
A week ago Saturday I was with some Public Pastures--Public Interest supporters watching Sharp-tailed Grouse dance on their dancing grounds or "lek." It is one of the last active dancing grounds anywhere near the city of Regina--primarily because more than 99% of the native grasslands that once covered the Regina Plains eco-district is now gone.

This bird, so much a part of prairie lore all over the Great Plains, is our provincial bird and deserves to have its remaining courtship habitat protected.

Our provincial and federal community pastures (the PFRA ones the Federal government is handing back to the Province) contain much of the best sharptail lands in Canada.  Hunters and birders alike love to see this bird in good numbers, and its very presence on these pastures testifies to the public interest in ensuring that the land is managed well.

Here is a first video clip showing a couple of males squaring off. If you crank up the volume, you can hear their "oom" sounds.

This clip shows two males in a bit of a flap as they fight for the best corners of the stage, hoping that will get them a chance to breed with one of the females hiding in the grass beyond the edges of the lek. Towards the end of the 25 second clip you can hear the song of a Western Meadowlark in the background. Is there any better way to greet the dawn in this part of the world?

Here is a brochure on the species put out by the US Dept of Agriculture, which has a Natural Resources Conservation Service, unlike Canada, which under Stephen Harper saw fit to dismantle the Agriculture Environmental Services Branch and its staff who once published similar documents.


  1. I would love to see this in person. Keep up the good fight Trevor and maybe some day I will.

  2. Thanks B. Next time we go maybe you can come along.


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