This special trip to Colorado focuses on seeing the spring mating rituals of grouse, among the most fascinating behavior in the bird world. Our visit is timed to witness the particular courtship displays of Greater Prairie-Chicken, Lesser Prairie-Chicken, Greater Sage Grouse, Gunnison Sage Grouse and Sharp-tailed Grouse on their display grounds or “leks.” With chests puffed enormously and long tail feathers spiked straight up, the proud Sage Grouse struts in remarkable display, giving everything they’ve got to out-compete rival males and attract a female’s attention.
This ultimate “chicken odyssey” also includes searching for Dusky Grouse, Scaled and Gambel’s Quail, Northern Bobwhite and the introduced Chukar. Above the treeline, amidst snow-blown peaks, we’ll look for the elusive White-tailed Ptarmigan; perfectly camouflaged against the white-blanketed terrain, it will require our best efforts to locate it.
The staggering beauty of Colorado serves as a steady backdrop as we travel around the state through plains, grasslands, canyons, wetlands and the majestic Rocky Mountains. These diverse habitats are home to a wide variety of bird species, and numerous mammals, including Pronghorn, Prairie Dogs, Moose and Bighorn Sheep. In the Pawnee National Grasslands, we’ll admire McCown’s Longspur, Chestnut-collared Longspur and Mountain Plovers in breeding plumage, as well as Ferruginous Hawks and Golden Eagles soaring overhead. Rosy-finches flock to feeders in the foothills in search of an easy food source. Myriad waterfowl crowd the reservoirs, including Barrow’s Goldeneye and Eared Grebe. We’ll see species associated with the southwest such as Chihuahuan Raven, Canyon Towhee, Western Scrub Jay and possibly even Greater Roadrunner and Vermilion Flycatcher.
Amazing birds, spectacular scenery and impressive wildlife make this one of our most popular trips, year after year.
Focus: Birds, Mammals, Scenery, Photography
“Chickens close on the leks were the most unique N. American birding experience we have ever had, even after birding for about 40 years.” – Bill and Sally F., DE