As we gather for family feasts of feathered beasts, it seems a perfect time to share some recent camera trap photos of another iconic North American bird.
The Greater Sage-Grouse.
A generally shy bird that's getting a fair bit of attention these days.
Which is a good thing, since attention is a path to awareness and support.
Such as this case, where a private land owner in Mono County is happily working with the BLM and USFW on a few simple improvements to make life easier for the local grouse.
A bit of brush maintenance and mowing... Making fences wildlife-friendly...
And, on his own initiative, a self-inflicted leak at his wellhead to create a reliable summer water puddle for wildlife.
Which, as you can see, seems to be appreciated.
Pair of male Greater Sage-Grouse at well overflow puddle
Mixed flock at the puddle
Eight pretty sage ladies
Mixed flock with adult male on right walking toward camera trap
You'll notice the males are much more subtle during summer when they aren't dancing for the sage ladies on their spring leks.
No yellow puffy chests or crests - just the hints of white breasts, black chins, and long tails.
Tells that are even tougher to spot on the season's juveniles.
Mixed flock with juveniles, both male and female
Beautiful birds. Even when not in dramatic display.
They can hang out in front of my Mono County camera traps anytime.
Plus, the ear-to-ear grin of my friend as he talks about his restoration efforts, how many grouse he's now seeing, and how often they come around, sure is addicting.
"Grouse, grouse, grouse," he proclaims proudly with a big smile.
Which, for this conservationist, is much like the bird itself - a feast for the eyes.