This picture is from a Columbian sharp-tailed Grouse lek in northwest Colorado. In the spring the grouse population gathers on their leks or breeding grounds. As part of their mating ritual the males “dance” as a way to attract females. Most of the males in a population can be found on the lek and it gives biologists an opportunity to count them. The data can be analyzed to determine population trends at the local, state, and even range-wide scales. Lek counts have been occurring for decades across the western United States.
REBECCA BURTON | RANGE AND WILDLIFE CONSERVATIONIST | NRCS/PF/QF