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Jackson Hole Spring Activities – Sage Grouse Strut

Visit Jackson Hole this April and view the unique mating strut of sage grouse. Everyone from bird enthusiast to novice bird watchers will enjoy the display that the sage grouse perform. Do not miss one of our favorite Jackson Hole Spring Activities!

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Male sage grouse displaying during the spring mating season. Photo from Grand Teton National Park website.

Many states in the Rocky Mountain west, including Wyoming, are covered in sagebrush as far as the eye can see. This critical habitat supports hundreds of fish and wildlife species. The sage grouse is a cornerstone species and due to lose of habitat their numbers are in serious decline. Scientist estimate their population to be between 200,000 – 400,00. These black, brown and white birds staple food is sagebrush with wildflowers, insects and forage crops supplementing their summer diet.

The unforgettable sage grouse strut performed by the males happens at dawn and sometimes dusk. The area that the strut is performed on is known as the leks. Leks are areas surrounded by sage brush that the birds return to year after year. It is important that the leks have the cover of sage brush close by for protection from predators and nesting sites. The males fan their long black tail feathers similar to a turkey and puff up their white breast feathers. Hidden in the white breast feathers are two yellow air sacs that they inflate with air to make weird pops and whistle noises. These hard working males perform this elaborate dance to impress the female and hopeful find a mate! Watch this mating dance yourself at this youtube link.

Grand Teton National Park offers a ranger-led tour to see the sage grouse strut the last three weekends of April. Head out at dawn with a knowledgeable ranger to view this mating display. Reservations are required and they recommend you dress warmly for the hour long outside tour. Meet at the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center in Moose, the southern entrance to the park, only a 20 minute drive from the Inn on the Creek at 5:30am. Call 307-739-3399 to make reservations and visit their website for more information.

Inn on the Creek is the place to stay for your bird watching vacation to Jackson Hole! Our creekside rooms have a beautiful view to Flat Creek flowing through the Inn’s backyard. Mountain bluebirds and western tanagers begin to migrate back to the area in April and many visit the Inn’s property. Enjoy a luxury room with a view for only $139! Please call or visit our website to book your accommodation at the Inn.

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