Guided sage grouse mating tours offered

CRAIG I Colorado Parks and Wildlife and Conservation Colorado, along with Rocky Mountain Wild, The Wilderness Society and Friends of Northwest Colorado, are offering the an opportunity to get a unique close-up of mating greater sage grouse during several guided viewing tours in northwest Colorado, March 28 through April 13.
Anyone interested in a front-row seat to watch one of the most interesting and visual mating rituals in the animal kingdom are encouraged to sign up soon as possible for the guided tour. Space is limited and reservations are required.
For dates, times, information and to reserve your spot, visit conservationco.org and click on sage grouse tours. “These tours provide a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to view greater sage-grouse performing their mating dance in northwest Colorado,” said Watchable Wildlife coordinator Trina Romero of Colorado Parks and Wildlife. “If you are interested in observing the ritual up close in a comfortable environment and without disturbing the birds, I strongly encourage you to sign up for the tour.”
Romero adds that it is often difficult to ethically observe lekking birds without guidance. She recommends the tour as a responsible way to view sage grouse when they are especially vulnerable to disturbance. For thousands of years, sage grouse have returned to their traditional breeding grounds — called leks — to perform a dramatic and complex dance as they compete for mates.
Watching male sage grouse spread their spiked tail feathers and pop their large air sacs is a visual treat for bird watchers or any wildlife enthusiast. Hundreds from across the world visit Colorado every year to observe the mating display in person.
“Everyone is welcome, however we encourage those that may not be avid bird watchers to take advantage of this opportunity,” Romero said. “It’s a unique experience and is one that you will remember for a lifetime.”
Colorado Parks and Wildlife provides a viewing trailer for the guided tour so people can sit inside and not disturb the grouse on the lek.
The public is reminded that the locations are remote and primitive. Parents with young children or anyone with special needs are asked to inquire about accommodations by contacting Sasha Nelson at sasha@conservationco.org.