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Thursday, April 11, 2013

View strutting sage-grouse, April 13

The "bloop, bloop" sound that male sage-grouse make, as they strut on their breeding grounds, is one of the most unique sounds you'll ever hear in nature.

And the sight of the grouse strutting is pretty unique too!

You can hear and watch this ritual yourself at a free wildlife-viewing event in east-central Utah. The event will happen April 13 at Emma Park, about 13 miles north of Price.

The Division of Wildlife Resources is sponsoring the event.

To see and hear the spectacle, you need to be at the viewing site early. Viewing is best before the sun comes up and just after the sun has risen. Grouse leave their strutting ground within an hour after sun up. Sunrise will be about 7 a.m. so attendees should plan to meet at Emma Park at or slightly before 7 a.m. Look for one or more vehicles with a state emblem.

Before making the trip, please remember that several things can force the grouse to leave the viewing site early or to not visit the site at all. For example, eagles or coyotes near the site can scare the grouse away. Wind, rain or snow can also keep the grouse under cover and out of sight.

After the birds leave their breeding ground, the grouse spend the day feeding and resting in stands of sagebrush. They remain mostly out-of-sight until the following morning at first light, when they congregate at their strutting ground again.

DWR biologists will be at the viewing site with spotting scopes and binoculars. They'll help you find the grouse. They'll also answer any questions you have.

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