Located at the western edge of the Steens Mt, French Glen and its hotel are a historic link to the vast cattle ranching operations that occurred in Oregon in the late 1800’s. The hotel is owned by Oregon Parks, and run by John Ross, a private concessionaire. The rooms are comfortable, and John has hosted and cooked at the Hotel since 1989. Meg and I always enjoying staying in this family friendly venue, and using it as a staging point to explore the area, and to watch the sage grouse strut. We arise at 5:30 AM to make sure we reach the “lek” before daybreak. Here is the Wikipedia description of this annual spring mating ritual.
This display is a delight to observe. Besides the incredible chest puffing and tail display, the sound of air being compressed in the males chest creates a unique thumping sound. Enjoy the pictures. They are worth clicking on to enlarge.
“Sage Grouse are notable for their elaborate courtship rituals. Each spring males congregate in leks and perform a “strutting display”. Groups of females observe these displays and select the most attractive males to mate with. The dominate male located in the center of the lek typically copulates with around 80% of the females on the lek. Males perform in leks for several hours in the early morning and evening during the spring months. Lek generally occur in open areas adjacent to dense sagebrush stands, and the same lekking ground may be used by grouse for decades.”