The male sage grouse, who puff up their huge white chests to attract a lady’s attention, are getting into the full swing of their courtship rituals as spring comes around. The Division of Wildlife Resources and the Wild Bird Center of Layton are giving local residents a chance to see all that dancing and strutting in action with a free field trip to the East Canyon Reservoir on March 28.
The bird walk will be led by Bill Fenimore, an expert birder and owner of the Wild Bird Center, and Phil Douglass, regional conservation outreach manager for the DWR. Those who are interested in the trip should meet at the Wild Bird Center in Layton (1860 N. 100 W.) at 6 a.m., where groups will then caravan up to the breeding grounds.
Sage grouse, which are a North American breed with long pointed tails and legs with feathers to their toes, are well-known for their elaborate courtship rituals. The males make soft drumming noises as they strut around with their tail feathers displayed and the air sacks on their chests puffed up, displaying their fitness as a mate.
Though the female grouse regularly gather to watch the display (and make their selections), humans rarely get the chance to witness the show.
The Wild Bird Center holds regular bird walks to areas all around the Wasatch Front, with meeting times that vary throughout the morning. For more information about this or any future walks, please call (801) 525-8400 or visit www.wildbirdcenter.com/layton.
“Our bird walks are a great family activity and a wonderful way to introduce children to the world of nature,” said Fenimore. “It shows them a whole new world.”