April 23, 2015
Lek Cam Offers Streaming Video of the Sage-Grouse Strut
Contact: Anna Harris at (503) 231-6208
Portland, OR - The greater sage-grouse's strutting dance is one of North America's defining wildlife spectacles, and one that few Americans have ever seen. Now, a new live-streaming video project supported by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and The Nature Conservancy is offering the public a chance to see this amazing display without having to sneak out into the sagebrush in the frigid half-light before dawn. Instead, the performance can now be enjoyed, coffee in hand, from the comfort of home by visiting: nature.org . The best viewing times are between 5:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. PST.
The lek cam is an unobtrusive camera designed to capture the intimate details of the sage-grouse's unique mating rituals. 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, sandhill cranes, eagles and so much more who might pass by the bird camera.
Each spring fish and wildlife biologists count lekking sage grouse across their 165 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.
The deteriorating health of western sagebrush landscapes has sparked an unprecedented and proactive partnership across the 11 states to conserve the uniquely North American ecosystem that supports iconic wildlife, outdoor recreation, ranching and other traditional land uses.
More information on the greater sage-grouse and ongoing collaborative work to conserve the sagebrush landscape is available at: http://www.fws.gov/greatersagegrouse/.