Grouse Business is Booming!

From Boise, Idaho, Kim writes: When Susan Hazelton from Golden Eagle Audubon (GEA) in Boise, Idaho contacted me about having Kenn give their 2009 banquet address, my first reaction was, “There’s no way we can do this!” Kenn and I had decided that our 2009 schedule was full enough, and that we just couldn’t accept any more requests. But, when Susan told me that the proceeds of the banquet went to the Idaho Bird Observatory (IBO), we both agreed, “We have to do this!” (Oh…and it didn’t hurt that she mentioned the possibility of seeing Greater Sage-Grouse!!)

Greater Sage-Grouse are birds that I've had no experience with. I just haven’t spent time in the right places with the right people. That all changed this morning! Several people from IBO and GEA took us out to search for grouse. David Hazelton, one of GEA’s top field trip leaders, had done some scouting yesterday, and, in spite of the fact that it’s pretty early in the season, he found several birds on a few different leks. We had good looks at a few birds at the first stop--mostly foraging and not displaying--but still fascinating. I was pretty stoked to finally see these guys. But, when we got to the last stop, I got to see them in all out boy grouse mode. Nine males were visible at once! And, in spite of the fact that there were no females present, they were really into being male grouse. Strutting, booming, and totally inflated, it was quite a show! I gotta tell ya, I’m no sage-grouse…but I was diggin it! We were close enough to hear the birds during these displays, and I was mesmerized! Even now, hours later, I'm still wearing my "grouse grin!" Here are a few pictures of these gorgeous birds and their outrageous displays.

In this picture a male Greater Sage-Grouse (looking a lot like a female in two obvious ways)
does its best Mae West impersonation.


  1. I'm so envious! I've seen sage grouse once--they were so cosmically cool, but also comically cool--they made me imagine a gay bar on Mae West impersonators' night.

  2. Quite the opportunity~glad you made the choice to attend. Enjoyed the views and will definitely add the Greater Sage-Grouse to my list of wanna-sees.

  3. I'm glad I visited this morning. This is a blog with good information, great birds, and a sense of humor!

  4. I love you Kim, You just crack me up!!! Can't wait to see you guys this weekend!! Love the pics. I'm so glad you had a great experience.

  5. The Greater Sage-Grouse would be such the highlight . . so glad you had this experience!

  6. Wow, very cool bird. The tail feathers are amazing! Nine males displaying all at one time had to be a real treat.

  7. Very cool pictures....I used to flush these big boys(and girls) while walking along the Madison R in Montana to go, would that takeoff within 10 feet of me clear out the morning cobwebs.

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  9. Absolutely stunning! I'm completely jealous (though in a good way), can't wait for my next trip out that way.
    Thanks for sharing the pictures and the experience!

  10. We may have to coin a new term for "jealous;" the old one feels a bit pale right now.

    And thanks loads, guys, for the add to your "web sites we like" list! I like yours too!

  11. Don't you love the way they go PEW PEW!! like they're shooting rubber bands?

    Lovely blast back to the past--we saw them in Oregon in the early 90's. i don't think I was ever so cold as that morning. But I'll always remember the sage grouse. What magnificent birds.


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