Thursday, March 12, 2009

Species of concern #1: The Greater Sage-grouse

I've been really nostaligic about my "old life" as a wildlife biologist lately and decided that I need to relive some of those moments that meant so much to me.

One of the first projects I ever worked on was as undergrad help studying Greater Sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus). Then, when I was a Sensitive Species Biologist for the state (of Utah), I would spend early mornings assessing lek visitation. It was always about this time of year (hence my nostaligia, possibly).

This bird, like many of the ones I care about, is a species of concern because of dwindling numbers due to various reasons. But it's the behavior that has likely caught your attention by the video. (I had to pirate a YouTube video because I can't find mine.) The males display for females in open areas between sagebrush. The display consists of filling the skin pouches beneath their necks with air and creating a booming noise. The jumping, the booming, the pouches, the defending a small circle around themselves--it all comes down to finding a mate. And the closer the male is to the center of the open area (i.e. the lek), the better his chances at copulating with a female or a few females.

Makes you wonder if we aren't picky enough about our mates. Or at least what hoops we should make them jump through to win us over, doesn't it? :)

1 comment:

  1. I think Kenny would say I made him jump through plenty of hoops to get me..hehe!