Sage grouse are currently in their mating season and people can watch the birds strut outside Lander.
Bird specialists say April is a good time to see sage grouse, but it must be done quietly, because noise will distract them and that could be a reason for a decline in the population.
“Try to avoid all the things that might make loud noises,” said Game and Fish Wildlife Biologist Stan Harter.
Hater said this will minimize the impact on the birds so they can conduct their mating ritual. He said sage grouse can be seen in Wyoming at several leks, locations where males strut to show their chest and attract mates.
District Sage Grouse Specialist Mandi Hirsch said scientist advise bird watchers to arrive at least one hour before sunrise; avoid driving near leks; turn off cars and lights; leave after birds are finished; and visit late April because most of the breeding is complete, but birds are actively strutting.
“The birds are very picky about people coming out looking at them,” said Hirsch. “They are very sensitive to noise.”
University of California Associate Professor Gail Patricelli studies the affects of energy production and noise pollution on the population, which she said seems to have an impact. Hirsh said this is why it is important not to disturb the birds when watching as they mate. Patricelli says the sage grouse population is the healthiest in Wyoming, but they are in trouble here just as other areas.