Posted March 21, 2014, 2:10 pm
Price — 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.
A male sage grouse performs his strutting ritual.
Photo by Larry Dalton
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 5 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.
DWR biologists will be at the viewing site with spotting scopes and binoculars. "We'll help you find the grouse," says Brent Stettler, regional conservation outreach manager for the DWR. "We'll also answer any questions you have."
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.
- From the Wasatch Front, travel east on U.S. Highway 6 from Spanish Fork. At the top of Price Canyon, look for the Emma Park sign, and turn left onto the Emma Park Road. Travel east until you see vehicles with the state of Utah seal on their doors.
- To get to Emma Park from Price, travel north on U.S. Highway 6 to the Castle Gate power plant. Turn right onto U.S. Highway 191, and travel northeast about six miles to a fork in the road. Turn left onto the Emma Park Road, and travel west until you see the state vehicles.
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