Every year from March through May, male sage grouse come to communal mating grounds, or leks, to show off their moves. In hopes of impressing some very picky hens, these males puff their chests, fan their feathers and really strut their stuff.
Once commonly found across 16 states and three Canadian provinces, the greater sage grouse occurs today in only 11 states and two provinces and in much smaller numbers—estimates range from 200,000 to 500,000 individuals.
Sage grouse populations have declined 80% across its historic range in the western United States.
Successful mating—and protected lek habitat—is critical to the greater sage grouse's survival. The Nature Conservancy and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are working together with a multitude of partners to ensure both the greater sage grouse and its sagebrush habitat are protected.