On April 19, 2014, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Elko District Office partnered with several organizations within the Elko community to provide a highly successful Sage-Grouse Experience, allowing participants the rare opportunity to view sage-grouse strutting on a breeding ground.
“This event was a great opportunity for the public to get out and see the sage-grouse perform their elaborate breeding displays. It was also an ideal setting to discuss sage-grouse ecology, threats to the bird and what management agencies and private interests can do to address those threats,” Cam Collins, BLM Wildlife Biologist.
In all, 42 participants met at 4:30 a.m. and travelled to a private ranch in north Ruby Valley to watch male sage-grouse perform their courtship displays. A courtship area is known as a lek, and this particular lek provided excellent viewing opportunities of male sage-grouse engaged in stunning strutting displays. The show also included at least two females that really spurred strutting activity from the nearby males. Fifty one male sage-grouse were counted, the highest number of males counted at that particular lek this year. Perfect weather and the unusually high number of sage-grouse provided ample opportunity for Elko County residents to photograph and video the sage-grouse courtship ritual.
After the viewing, the group proceeded to the Ruby Valley LDS church for a brunch provided by the Ruby Valley 4-H, followed by brief educational presentations and a Question & Answer session on the sage-grouse. Several Elko community organizations collaborated to make this event possible, including the Northeastern Nevada Stewardship Group, Newmont Mining, Barrick Gold, Noble Energy, the Nevada Department of Wildlife, the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S Forest Service and the University of Nevada Corporative Extension. “It was great to see the community collaborate on such an educational opportunity for the public. This was first event like this for the public; we plan on doing it again next year” Cam Collins.
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