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Sharp-tailed Grouse Survey

April 1 to April 16 & April 29 to May 14 Sharp-tailed Grouse

Reserve your place for a chance to see the sharp-tailed grouse from our viewing blind. It will require early rising, a walk in, and possibly cold toes but the sight and sound of sharp-tailed grouse dancing on a lek (dancing/breeding ground) is one of nature's true spectacles. Males stomp their feet as fast as they can, causing their tails to rattle. At the same time they inflate purple neck sacks, called gular, which produce a unique sound. Meanwhile the females sit back and watch carefully to select their mate. The romance is fleeting and the hen will be left to raise the young on her own. Couple this show with the early morning light of dawn and you have the backdrop for a wonderful and unforgettable morning. Contact us to make reservations.

If you would like to view this spectacular event you can reserve one or two days in the Sharp-tailed Grouse Observation Blind by contacting Jennifer Wycoff at jennifer_wycoff@fws.gov or calling 906-586-9851 x16. Reservations may be made April 1 to April 16  and April 29 to May 14. All other dates are first come first served. The blind holds two people comfortably, but up to three can fit. The best time to view the grouse is at dawn. You can access the blind on the north end of the Refuge by driving M-28 west of Seney to the Driggs River Road. At that point you will need to drive south to the parking area just across the bridge. You can access the blind by walking east along the Diversion Ditch to the blind. The walk is approximately one mile. 

Map to the blind.

Seney National Wildlife Refuge Sharp-tailed Grouse Life History and Behavior Video

How to Participate

Sharp-tailed Grouse Observation Etiquette 

We would like to continue to allow the use of the Sharp-tailed Grouse Observation Blind as a way to allow the public to view these birds.  To do so we ask that visitors respect the birds and disturb them as little as possible.

  • When you reach the blind please quietly approach the blind from the back to enter.
  • While in the blind watch, take photos, video or sound recordings quietly.
  • The grouse will dance for approximately 2 hours after sunrise.  If you decide to leave while they are still using the lek do so quietly.  The birds are performing their mating ritual and we do not want them to be disturbed.
  • Do not walk onto the lek!

Don't forget to:

  • Dress in layers and wear warm clothes.
  • Depending on weather wear bug spray/clothes.
  • Bring binoculars.
  • Bring your camera.

 

Poor weather: If it is raining (more than a sprinkle), snowing (more than just flurries), or sustained winds in access of 10 mph the grouse will most likely not be using the lek. They will dance on cold or misty days, these do not affect their mating behavior.

Page Photo Credits — Sharp-tailed Grouse - Robert Plain/2011 Photo Contest
Last Updated: Feb 16, 2017
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