Game and Fish Asks Observers to Not Stress Sage Grouse During Mating Season
It’s an important time for sage grouse in Wyoming.
Each year from March to May, the iconic, chicken-like birds journey to their courtship areas, called “leks,” in an attempt to attract mates. Each courtship area can attract up to 200 males, many displaying inflated air sacs and full plumage.
Robin Kepple, an information officer with Wyoming Game and Fish, says her agency encourages wildlife enthusiasts to view the sage grouse's courtship practices. She, however, asks observers to be mindful of their surroundings – increased human activity at the lek can place unnecessary stress on the birds.
“Don’t drive out on the lek – kind of drive away from it and use spotting scopes and binoculars,” Kepple said. “And also, we ask for you to please stay in your vehicles. Getting out of the car and walking around can be really disruptive to the birds as well.”
Kepple says Wyoming sage grouse populations have declined in recent years.
Game and Fish also asks wildlife enthusiasts to not leave the lek until the birds are finished with their courtship and to not trespass on private land.