Conserving the Nature of America
Press Release
Lek Cam Offers Streaming Video of the Sage-Grouse Strut

April 11, 2016

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For hundreds of thousands of years, male sage-grouse have gathered at traditional breeding grounds called leks, to puff out their chests and fan their tail feathers in an effort to attract females. ,For hundreds of thousands of years, male sage-grouse have gathered at traditional breeding grounds called leks, to puff out their chests and fan their tail feathers in an effort to attract females. Credit: USFWS,USFWS

For hundreds of thousands of years, male sage-grouse have gathered at traditional breeding grounds called leks, to puff out their chests and fan their tail feathers in an effort to attract females. ,For hundreds of thousands of years, male sage-grouse have gathered at traditional breeding grounds called leks, to puff out their chests and fan their tail feathers in an effort to attract females. Credit: USFWS,USFWS

PORTLAND, OR— One of nature’s finest spectacles is happening right now. For the second straight year, you can witness the greater sage-grouse dancing to find a mate on a live-streaming wildlife camera. Located on a lek, these birds strut their stuff every morning from around 5:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. PST. Visit The Nature Conservancy’s website to watch live and recorded footage: http://bit.ly/LekCam2016

The unobtrusive camera is designed to capture the intimate details of the sage-grouse’s unique mating ritual. For hundreds of thousands of years, male sage-grouse have gathered at traditional breeding grounds called leks, to puff out their chests and fan their tail feathers in an effort to attract females. This camera, located on a ranch in south-central Oregon, offers a glimpse at dozens of males who will gather as the sun rises on the sagebrush steppe to display their fancy dancing.

To avoid disturbing these extremely sensitive birds, the cameras illuminate the lek with infrared light, which birds aren’t able to see. Watch for other wildlife such as mule deer, elk, eagles and so many more who might pass by the camera.

Each spring fish and wildlife biologists count lekking sage grouse across their 173 million-acre, 11-state range. Greater sage-grouse once occupied more than 290 million acres of sagebrush in the West, but the bird has lost more than half of its range due to habitat loss and fragmentation from development, noxious weeds and fire. 

An unprecedented, landscape-scale conservation effort of the sagebrush, an ecosystem that supports iconic wildlife, outdoor recreation, ranching and other traditional land uses, has significantly reduced threats to the greater sage-grouse across 90 percent of the species’ breeding habitat. This collaborative, science-based greater sage-grouse strategy was the largest land conservation effort in U.S. history and enabled the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to conclude that the charismatic rangeland bird does not warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act.

More information on the ongoing collaborative work to conserve the sagebrush landscape is available at: http://www.fws.gov/greatersagegrouse/.

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